As head of a six-member delegation of British councillors and entrepreneurs, Kashmir-origin Deputy Lord Mayor of British City of Stoke on-Trent Majid Khan called for early peaceful settlement of the Kashmir problem by granting Kashmiris their right to self-determination to ensure peace in South Asia.

He was speaking at a dinner hosted in honour of the British delegation by NGO Chinar Kashmir Arts and Cultural Council’s Chairman Zaffar Lodhi at a local Hotel.

Commissioner Mirpur division Raja Tariq Mahmood chaired the ceremony. Other members of the delegation included Kashmir-born ex Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trunt Ch Kiramat Ali, and the entrepreneurs from the British town including Ch Muhammad Ayub, Haji Talib Hussain and Ch Muhammad Akram Saithi.

Majid Khan, who belongs to the opposition Labour Party, continued that Kashmir is the unfinished agenda of partition of the subcontinent and United Kingdom has the moral and historical responsibility to facilitate the effort for early peaceful resolution of this over 66-year old problem. He said that this lingering dispute was required to be resolved peacefully through the meaningful tripartite talks among  Pakistan, India and the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

He further said that since Britain has the historic role and obligation vis-à-vis the peaceful settlement of Kashmir problem, London, being the venue of the British government should facilitate for the early peaceful resolution of the dispute. He added that Britain and Pakistan have mutual common interests in various fields of public interests. He said both the countries were already engaged in extending bilateral cooperation to each other for wiping out the menaces detrimental to the societies. He called for further exchange of cooperation by both the countries.

The British Deputy Lord Mayor said that that the teachings of Islam were being distorted by the vested interests for selfish political gains. He said that education can be the agent of change and it could bring about broadmindedness and liberal attitude. Majid Khan also emphasised a need for exercising work in the mutual economy of Pakistan and Britain in the United Kingdom through the active role of the Britain-based Pakistan and AJK origin businessmen. He also called for the exchange of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the field of Health, Education and Civic Sectors.

He said that during visit to Lahore, Islamabad and Muzaffarabad, the British delegation had met with Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Berjees Tahir, Chairman Senate Nayer Hussain Bukhari, Senaotr Talha Mahmood, AJK Prime Minister Ch. Abdul Majeed, senior minister Muhammad Yasin, Education Minister Abdul Waheed and apprised them of the problems confronted by the UK-based Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates at the airports and other state functionaries during their visit to the motherland.

He urged the governments of Pakistan and AJK to devise effective policies to attract and maintain the traditional links of the new generation with the motherland including their ancestral places. “The sympathies of UK-based Pakistani and AJK expatriates will always stand with Pakistan,” said Khan.

Speaking on the occasion, Divisional Commissioner Raja Tariq Mahmood and Chinar Kashmir Arts Council’s Chairman Zaffar Lodhi applauded the role of the UK-based Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates in raising and upholding the high image of Pakistan. They underlined that besides Pakistani expatriates, UK-based Kashmiri Diaspora belonging to Mirpur have a significant role in the speedy development and uplift of the Great Britain since their four generations settled in the United Kingdom.

They hoped that the UK-based Pakistani and Kashmiri expats will continue performing as the unofficial ambassador of Pakistan to uphold the high image of the country in United Kingdom.