Pak’s predictable ploy: The British parliamentary debate on Kashmir on Thursday was predictable on both timing and content. It was an initiative fed by Pakistan-origin MPs to mark Prime Minister Modi’s birthday, and intended to embarrass him through the New York visit. Adjectives flowed of the usual kind. But on this occasion, the Indian government did a better job in ignoring these selected outpourings.
Support for India: As it turned out, three MPs spoke firmly in support of India against a battery of critics. Bob Blackman from the Conservatives said it’s Indian forces that have saved Kashmir from becoming a Taliban-led Afghanistan. Teresa Villiers also from the Conservatives pointed to ethnic cleansing of Hindus by Islamists, and Barry Gardiner from Labour said the problem with rights was on the other side of Kashmir in Pakistan. Amanda Williams replying for the government said the position has improved in Indian Kashmir of late, and also reminded Pakistan of its need to protect its own citizens under its constitution.
Britain’s vaccine certification gimmick: The UK government has put out a rather deceptive note through its high commission in Delhi that it is trying to resolve this Covid certification issue by way of some recognition arrangements across respective platforms. No such arrangements have been thought required, or made, with other countries on the approved list. Their certification according to their system seems fine, India’s does not.
‘The worth of an Afghan life’: So now we have a value that the UK government attaches to the lives of Afghans who died fighting with and for the British. In one case the UK government paid just 104.17 pounds – it paid others more for loss of their donkeys. The average payout was 2,380 pounds. More than a hundred pounds surely but that’s about all the British had to offer to bereaved families.
Former MP Vaz found guilty of bullying: Former Labour MP Keith Vaz has been found guilty of “sustained and unpleasant bullying” of a Parliament staffer. The inquiry was conducted by a panel of independent experts. The panel said Keith Vaz should be “ashamed of his behaviour” and never given a parliamentary pass again. Vaz has rejected the findings, and says he is considering legal action.