THE visit of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been productive in the sense that it helped forged broader understanding on a host of issue and resulted into pledges on both sides to forge their relations especially in education, health, trade, investment, security and cultural fields. Hopefully, the relationship would receive a major boost when Prime Minister Theresa May pays visit to Pakistan in 2017.
Britain has not only been an important trading partner of Pakistan but its leadership has all along been expressing resolve to stand by the country as it addresses the challenges it faces and build a durable relationship that would stand the test of time. Boris Johnson conveyed similar message and sentiments during his interaction with Pakistani leadership. However, strangely enough, Britain has not lived up to its reputation as strong advocate of human rights as far as human rights of Kashmiris are concerned. Britain has a special obligation in this regard as the dispute is direct product of unjust partition of the sub-continent. At the joint press stakeout with the Advisor on Foreign Affairs, the UK Foreign Secretary avoided to condemn the gross human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir and instead referred to ‘violence’ and called for restraint on both sides. The United Kingdom is one of the influential members of the international community having immense clout to help stop atrocities against Kashmiris who are demanding nothing but their birthright. Similarly, it ought to pressurise India for fulfilling its pledge to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to determine the fate of Kashmiri people but obviously commercial interests are dearer to Britain and some other members of the global community than fundamental rights of Kashmiris, which are being trampled. People of Pakistan genuinely expect from Britain to play a proactive role in finding a just solution of the longstanding dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.