British Pakistani parliamentarian and critic of India Amjad Bashir alleged that he was singled out in the denial of his application for an Indian visa, while the rest of his colleagues on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs were allowed entry into the country, The News reported on Tuesday. Chairperson of the committee, David McAllister, said he will take up the issue with Indian leaders. Indian official sources, however, told PTI that his visa was not denied but being processed.
“I alone find myself still without the necessary piece of paper. Our political group has taken the matter up with the parliament’s authorities. The parliament’s president Antonio Tajani is looking into it, but time has run out and it looks like the delegation will be leaving without me,” Bashir told the Pakistani daily. He added that he heard from “unofficial channels” that he had not got a visa by then because of his “stance on Kashmir”.
Bashir is a supporter of self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir and has spoken out against alleged human rights violations by Indian authorities in the state.
The panel, tasked with compiling a report on European-India relations before the next EU-India summit later this year, said human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir should be addressed through Indian institutions, The Times of India reported. McAllister along with Members of European Parliament Zeljana Zovko (Croatia), Cristian Dan Preda (Romania) and Urmas Paet (Estonia) met Union ministers, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Niti Aayog Vice-Chairperson Arvind Panagariya, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and others.
The panel had earlier criticised the Narendra Modi-led government’s decision to cancel the licences of several thousand non-governmental NGOs, the Indian daily reported. “We don’t understand why governments in some countries want to block activities of organisations involved in human rights, particularly women and children’s rights,” Dan Preda said.
McAllister said the panel would push for speedy completion of trade negotiations and that a high-level group from India would soon visit the EU to discuss immigration matters. The committee, while stressing that they respected India-Russia relations, also criticised Russia’s role in Crimea.