A DAY after British Prime Minister David Cameron’s maiden visit to Islamabad, British daily The Telegraph came out with an Op-Ed titled as above. It claimed that the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has declared that Britain is responsible for many of the world’s historic problems, including the conflict in Kashmir between India and Pakistan.The daily opined that Mr. Cameron appeared to distance himself from the imperial past when he suggested Britain was to blame for decades of tension and several wars over the disputed territory. His remarks came on a visit to Pakistan, where he was asked how Britain could help end the row over Kashmir. Mr. Cameron insisted that it was not his place to intervene in the dispute, saying: ‘’I don’t want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.’’ His remarks were greeted warmly by the audience of Pakistani students and academics, but drew accusations from historians in Britain that he was wrongly apologizing for Britain’s past. Daisy Cooper, the director of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit, commented that this is typical of the UK’s schizophrenic relationship with former colonies where it is both proud and embarrassed about its past.
The British government has said that it has big ambitions for a modern Commonwealth and the UK should stop being embarrassed about its colonial past. Mr. Cameron’s willingness to accept historic responsibility for the Kashmir dispute has echoes of public apologies issued by his Labour predecessors. In 1997 Tony Blair apologized to the Irish people for the famine the country suffered in the mid-19th century. And in 2006 he spoke of his ‘’deep sorrow’’ at Britain’s role in the African slave trade. In the same year Mr. Cameron said Britain should do more to celebrate its history, writing: ‘’We must never forget that Britain is a great country with a history we can be truly proud of. Our culture, language and inventiveness has shaped the modern world.’’The Daily Mail believes that it is Britain’s historic duty to undo a wrong committed by its officials, who wanted to continue their divide and rule policy even when they were departing from the Indian sub-continent. Kashmir is a legacy of the Mountbatten government, when he prevailed over Cyril Radcliffe of the Boundary Commission to award Gurdaspur to India, which provided a land access to India to reach Kashmir.
Ample evidence of the intrusion of the last British Viceroy to India is available through the memoirs of Christopher Beaumont, the secretary of Cyril Radcliff, which were published by his grand nephew after his demise. It has been recorded in a number of history books that Indian Congress leader Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru was wielding tremendous influence on Lord Mountbatten through his wife Edwina, who was allegedly the paramour of Nehru. Cameron cannot “regret Kashmir” and dismiss it stating that Britain does not want to get involved. Over 100,000 innocent Kashmiris have been brutally murdered by Indian Armed Forces only because Britain gave tacit approval to the Indian invasion of Kashmir. India illegally occupied Kashmir and continues to hold on to it contrary to the will of the people and is also oblivious of the UN Resolutions asking to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. Indian obduracy and reign of terror continue to prevail in the once tranquil valley. If Kashmir is prick on Mr. Cameron’s conscience, let him put his words into action and find a solution to the six and half decades’ old issue. – Dailytimes