Sunday 4 April 2010

Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan responds

On Friday 2 April I wrote "Pakistan High Commissioner Wajid Shamsul Hassan defies diplomatic decorum and aligns with Labour Party in the UK" commenting on High Commissioner's address at a Liberal Democrat fund raising dinner in Manchester. High Commissioner has responded to this blog post in the comments section of that article. I would like to retain my journalistic integrity by not letting his views be buried under comments and am publishing them up front on this blog without any commentary. Here is what Pakistan High Commissioner, Wajid Shamsul Hassan wrote:
Unfortunately your correspondent has misquoted me. I was invited by Councillor Qassim Afzal to his fund raiser and when I was told that they would like me to say a few words I had told the organisers that as a diplomat I cannot support this party or that. When I was inisted to speak I did say--with reference to Qassim Afzal's remarks-- that Labour was the only party in 63 years that had supported the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. It was a "diplomatic triumph" for Pakistan as described by the Indian media when Labour Party adopted a resolution in its annual conference in Brighton in October 1995 in support for the right of self-determination. It had also reiterated that Kashmir was part of unfinished agenda of the partition brought about by the Labour Party in 1947. It had also reaffirmed that it was Labour's moral obligation to play a role to resolve the dispute that could push India and Pakistan to a nuclear war.
I had praised the then Shadow Foreign Secretary Robin Cook for moving the resolution drafted by Rt Hon Gerald Kaufman. As one would recall Robin Cook--as Labour Foreign secretary--accompanying the Queen to Pakistan and India in 1997--had got involved in a major media controversy when he offered to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir dispute. He was accused of spoiing the Royal visit by the Indian and British media.
Much similarly present Foreign Secretary David Miliband too, recently said the same thing in so many words causing a storm in Indian media. He said that India must recognise that it was Kashmir issue that was a cause of terrorism in the region. He advised Delhi not to close its eyes to the presence of an "elephant" in the room.

I reminded those present of the role that is being played by Lib-Dem Baroness Emma Nicholson vis-a-vis Kashmir and referred to the series of seminars she is holding objecting to the status of a province given to Gilgit-Baltistan on the specific desire of the people forgetting that she did not object when Indiands made occupied Kashmir their province. Your correspondent has mentioned about Liz Lynn. I did not refer to her in my short speech.
I am putting this to put the record straight and not by way of supporting this party or that. Whenever I have been asked to speak on such occasions I have advised the Pakistani-Kashmiri origin diaspora to vote for the best candidates and to participate in elections in full strength to support the people who could voice their causes in the Parliament.

Incidentally it was not only me but the main Lib-dem speaker who also mentioned that Mr Kaufman was the only person with consistent stand on Palestine and Kashmir in support of the people. I had just put the record straight.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, High Commissioner for Pakistan to UK

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