UK to relax immigration policies for Kashmiris
9 July 2000
MIRPUR: The visiting Chief Executive of British Immigration Advisory Service in London Keith Best while expressing grave concern over the persistant migration of thousands of the Kashmiri refugees into Azad Jammu and Kashmir has said matter will be taken up with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Islamabad to get them recognised by the UNHCR under the spirit of the stipulated international norms. He was addressing representatives of different organisations here at the Kashmir Press Club. The reception was hosted by the Press Club in honour of twomember British delegation of the British Immigration Advisory Service. The Kashmiri refugees were forced by Indian troops atrocities to leave their native homes and enter Azad Kashmir. Keith Best fully agreed to the idea for relaxing the policies of immigration by the British government pertaining to the lakhs of immigrants belonging to Mirpur and other parts of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan settled in United Kingdon in order to promote and strengthen the bilateral friendly relations between these countries. He said that his organisation (British Immigration Advisory Service London) would soon submit its proposals to the British government for liberalising the immigration policies. He said that a comprehensive policy has been prepared for the speedy redressal of the grievances of the immigrants belonging to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, about the increasing problems of immigration. He said that his ongoing visit to Azad Kashmir was the part of his policy for redressal of the grievances of the immigration. He said that with the coordination of the concerned government and nongovernmental organisations, his institution British Immigration Advisory Service has started acting upon the comprehensive plan. Keith Best further said that his institution was striving for resolving the problems of immigrants under the spirit of economic interest and benefit in the larger interest of Britain. He said that during his stay in Islamabad, he will table his recommendations for early redressal of the grievances of the Pakistani and Kashmiri immigrants and their families here before the British High Commissioner. He said that he will also move the proposals and recommendations for simplifying the procedure for granting visas to the concerneds under the proposed liberal immigration policy. He also called for simplifying the right of appeal by the genuine applicants in visit and permanent settlement cases. The Chief Executive of British Immigration Advisory Service in London revealed that an International Conference about basic immigration policy was being held in London soon. He added that the conference will move the proposals and recommendations to the British authorities for liberalising the Immigration policy keeping in view the largest economic interest and needs of the country, Britain. He said that the British authorities would be urged to adopt the nondiscriminatory immigration policy in the greater benefit of the country on economic grounds besides to review in detail about the benefits of immigration for the United Kingdom. Keith Best said that since offices of his institution Immigration Advisory Service were operating in various British cities to guide and resolve the problems of UK based immigration, the British Immigration Advisory Service was seriously contemplating to open its office in Mirpur for the facility of the immigrants and their families here. He said that it would be first overseas office of the British Immigration Advisory Service set up in any foreign country. He said that the proposed British Immigration Advisory Service Office in Mirpur would prove to be helpful for the British High commission in Islamabad for disposing of the cases of immigration, of the U.K based immigrants and their kith and kin in Pakistan and azad Kashmir. Besides this, the proposed British Immigrants Advisory Service office would also prove to be helpful in resolving the problems of the immigrants at the doorstep of their ancesral homes here. Addressing the ceremony other speakers also expressed grave concern over the continued forcible pushing of thousands of the Kashmiri families from Occupied Kashmir to Azad Kashmir by the Indian occupation forces. They called upon the United Nation High Commission for Refugees in Pakistan to take serious notice of the situation and provide them relief in view of their global status because of the international status of the issue of Kashmir. Strongly condemning the continued Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir, speakers urged upon the world community including Britain to fulfil their global obligations for getting the right of selfdetermination granted to the people of Kashmir which was being denied by India since last 52 years at the might of her military power in Occupied Kashmir. Speakers also urged upon the United Nations and other freedom and human rights loving global forces to perform their due international rule to get the Kashmir problem resolved which involved the fate of 13 million people of Jammu and Kashmir to pave the way for permanent and durable peace in South Asia. The visiting two member delegation of the British Advisory Services, London also visited the local Municipal Corporation offices. Mr. Keith Best and his colleague Mr Michal Picket discussed the matters of bilateral interest in a meeting with Administrative Municipal Corporation, Chaudhry Mohammad Ayub. The meeting was also attended by Deputy Commissioner, Ch. Abdul Qayyum, ADC(G) Raja Fazal ur Rehman, Chief Officer Municipal Corporation Mohammad Yasin Chaudhry, Accounts Officer, Mirza Gul Zaman and representatives of the people from various classes of the society.