April 1998 News

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Scandal fear grips pro-Pak British MPs

11th April 1998

LONDON: British MPs, who have been backing Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, have written to the House of Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd, expressing fear that moves were afoot to "implicate them in false financial scandals."

Six MPs led by Gerald Kaufman (Labour Party), on the "behalf" of 32 others from different political parties active on Kashmir, said they fear that the British media was trying to probe their "connections" to Pakistani institutions here, Pakistani media reports here said.

"We fear that our efforts on Kashmir issue may be linked to financial returns," they said in the letter.

The MPs, who were signatories to the letter, included Roger Godsiff, Chairman, All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group, Peter Pyke, Tom Cox, June Wavively and George Galloway, who has just returned from Iraq, where he went to express support for embattled Iraqi President Saddam Huessin, much to the embarrassment of the Labour government.

The reports did not mention whom the members were blaming to be behind the moves only saying that they were claiming these were directed to discredit them.

Normally, whenever the media raises serious issues of frauds pertaining to misconduct by members of parliament, the speaker traditionally asks the parliamentary standing committee to probe the matter.

The members informed the speaker that the moves were aimed at what they called to "sabotage" the forthcoming conference of leaders of Jammu and Kashmir from both the sides of line of control being held here on May 29.

The conference is being organized by Lord Eric Avebury, (Liberal Democrat), who has labelled himself as chairman of Friends of Kashmir and Labour MP Roger Godsiff. This is their third attempt to organics such a conference, after two previous bids failed to evoke any response from Kashmiri leaders.


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