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Jammu and Kashmir

Volume 574: debated on Tuesday 21 January 2014

We are aware of allegations of human rights abuses on both sides of the line of control. We are clear that allegations of human rights abuses require proper investigation, and we regularly raise concerns through our missions in Islamabad and Delhi, as appropriate.

The number of civilian deaths attributed to the Indian forces is now greater than the number attributed to terrorist attacks in the region. Will the Minister assure me that these issues are being raised not only in our official discussions but at ministerial level, given the number of delegations and trips to India in recent years?

Indeed. The hon. Gentleman will know that in the past few years India and Pakistan have made progress on trade, with both countries agreeing to double bilateral trade by 2014. India has lifted a ban on direct investment from Pakistan, and both sides have implemented a new visa regime. Ultimately, we want to encourage progress between India and Pakistan. Our position, as is well known, is to allow both sides to decide the pace of dialogue, as any direct involvement or international intervention would not be welcomed—by India, certainly.

Is the Minister aware of the petition signed by thousands of my constituents —and, I believe, people in other constituencies —asking for a debate about human rights in Jammu and Kashmir, and can he assist by giving us such a debate in Government time?

I was not aware of the petition to which the hon. Lady alludes, but her comments will certainly have been noted, not least by the Chair.