A BRADFORD MP has spoken about what he has witnessed on a recent visit to Kashmir, where he met with senior officials from the Pakistani military.

Bradford East’s Labour MP Imran Hussain flew out to Pakistan last week to head to the Kashmir region, which is the centre of a geopolitical storm after India removed its autonomous status last month.

Supporters of Kashmiri independence have called for action to be taken to give the region its autonomy back and for the Indian police and military to stop alleged violence against civilians.

The Indian government and its supporters have said the area’s autonomy has been removed to make Kashmir a more integrated part of the country, and that India should be left to sort the issue by itself.

Mr Hussain said: “Earlier this week I visited the Line of Control in Kashmir to personally receive a high-level briefing from senior officers in the Pakistani military on the ongoing situation in Kashmir.

“What they told me was extremely shocking, with horrific tales and testimonies from civilians living in the region.

“Almost a month after revoking Articles 370 and 355a, I was told that the Indian Government continue to maintain their harsh lockdown and restrictions on Kashmir.

“It is far worse than I could ever have imagined, with an authoritarian curfew on Kashmiris that prevent them from leaving their home.

“A strict blockade is preventing medicine and food from entering the region, creating a huge humanitarian crisis as medicine and food begins to run out.

“The harsh media blackout has seen landline phones cut off, mobile phones blocked and internet access denied, which all prevent the spread of information on what is happening in Kashmir also remains in place.

“This is despite it being declared as draconian and unprecedented by the UN’s Special Rapporteur.

“It continues to empower the Indian Armed Forces to continue with their brutal oppression and persecution of Kashmiris that has been heavily criticised on many occasions by human rights organisations.

“Knowing they effectively face immunity from any repercussions of their actions, I was also told in this briefing that not only have the Indian Armed Forces arrested up to 10,000 people under the draconian powers handed to these occupying forces, but that the reported use of cluster bombs, banned by many countries around the world for their indiscriminate nature and impact on civilians, is true, and that civilians in Azad Kashmir are being deliberately targeted by elements of the Indian Army.

“This is nothing short of a war crime, and it is time that the international community came to the Line of Control to see for themselves the horrific potential of a genocide that is beginning to unfold in the region as the sons and daughters of Kashmir are oppressed, persecuted, shot at and forced from their homes.”

Jagtar Sahota, branch secretary at the Indian Workers’ Association, said he did not support the way India is going about the situation.

He said: “Kashmir is an integral part of India, but it needs to be treated equally.

“What the Government has done is not democratic, they are doing the wrong thing and it is causing a lot of problems.

“Whether it is unconstitutional, I don’t know. That is for the courts to decide.

“Kashmiri people are Indian people, they chose to be a part of India at Partition.

“Let’s hope India and Pakistan do not fight because that will cause more problems.

“We are not supporting the way the Government are doing this, but external parties should not be getting involved.”