The All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir (APPGK), chaired by Labour party MP Debbie Abrahams, received the amount of £31,501-33,000 (about $39,600-41,500) in the name of “benefits in kind” on February 18th, 2020 from the Government of Pakistan for a visit to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) trip between February 18-22 earlier this year, the register of all party parliamentary groups revealed.
APPGK’s official website mentions “benefits in kind” for visit to “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” (liberated Jammu & Kashmir) while describing PoK. “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” is an official terminology of the Pakistani government to describe the illegally occupied part of Kashmir by Pakistan.
Many APPGK members, mainly Debbie Abrahams is known to sail in a similar boat as Pakistan in alleging “human rights violations” in Kashmir by Indian troops. Debbie was also denied entry in India and deported to Dubai on February 17th, 2020 for travel on an invalid visa, after which she falsely accused the Indian government of being vindictive for her one-sided stand on Kashmir issue and being highly critical on India’s internal issue of abrogation of article 370. Subsequently, on the next day, she flew to meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan all funded by Islamabad.
On August 5, 2019, Abrahams had written to India’s High Commissioner to the UK expressing deep concerns over the removal of Article 370.
She also wrote to the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, saying the Indian actions in Kashmir violated international law and requested the UK to call for a temporary prohibition on New Delhi’s moves. Abrahams and her counterparts in the labour party like Jeremy Corbyn have been biased and critical on the Indian government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
APPGK has several Pakistanis or Pakistani origin members and others like Debbie Abrahams with almost no representation from the Indian side.
This is not the first time APPGK has received funds from Pakistan; in 2018 APPGK received 10,501-12,000 (approximately $13200-15100) from the Pakistan High Commission on September 17th, 2018, for similar reasons of “visit to Pakistan and Kashmir” in September 2018. APPGK’s report was later flaunted on several Pakistani government websites and newspapers bragging about the APPGK’s observations in PoK
All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are informal cross-party groups that have no official status within the UK Parliament. They are run by and for Members of the Commons and Lords, though many choose to involve individuals and organizations from outside Parliament in their administration and activities.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.