British MP Naz Shah stresses 'galvanisation at grassroots' to raise Kashmir issue globallyWorld
Member of the UK Parliament, Naz Shah, on Tuesday said voices against atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) needed to be galvanised at a grassroots level to make them heard effectively at the international level.
In an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan during her visit to Pakistan, she said that attention raised on human rights violations in IoK such as the incidents of killings, rapes and pellet gun attacks would have more impact with a global audience than just parliaments.
She said a "strategic shift" in media was required to inform the world about the infringement of the legitimate rights of Kashmiris.
Shah called for spreading the word through active social media platforms about the plight of the elderly generation which was a witness to the Indian brutalities in IoK for decades and also the difficulties faced by the youth who continue to suffer "grave inhumanities".
Read more: Imran praises valour of youth in occupied Kashmir
The Labour MP for Bradford West — known for her strong support in the House of Commons for the people of Kashmir, women and minorities — emphasised that the untold stories of the abuse in IoK needed to be delivered to the young people in the world as part of effective lobbying for the Kashmir cause.
"Relevant information and videos on social media depicting the situation in occupied Kashmir can generate immense international pressure," Shah said.
"We have seen that the issue of climate change and Black Lives Matter was all about successful media campaigns."
She said the topic of Kashmir was very close to her heart since she had spent her teenage years in Azad Kashmir.
"Until every daughter in Kashmir is free of rape, people get united with families and do their businesses without having the fear of getting blinded by pellet guns, I will not stop speaking about the reality of Kashmir," Shah said.
She said it was "tragic" that the demography of IoK was being changed by those having no historical attachment with the Valley.
"You do not need to be a Kashmiri but a human to see the atrocities in Kashmir," she said.
Asked about the growing Islamophobia in Europe, she said the western democracies needed to understand that the feelings of Muslims were hurt when caricatures of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) were made.
"If people in the West can understand the emotional connections to the desecration of a statue, they also need to recognise the connection the Muslims have with their prophet," she said.
Shah, who is the UKs shadow minister for communities, said that she had been emphasising that Islamophobia did not need any legislation, but an understanding by the people to not hurt Muslims.
Pointing to the rise in gendered Islamophobia where women and children bore the brunt, she said: "We need to stop it by talking about it."
On the status of parliamentary ties between Pakistan and the UK, Shah said that the relationship needs to be strengthened.
She suggested that it would be useful to have some briefings on Kashmir prepared beforehand and given to the UK MPs and other countries to empower them to speak effectively for the rights of the Kashmiris.