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The issue of Kashmir, long a point of contention between India and Pakistan, has now permeated British politics, with parliamentary candidates seeking the support of the British Pakistani community by addressing the Kashmir conflict. Conservative MP Marco Longhi is among those urging the British Pakistani electorate to vote for him in the upcoming elections, leveraging his stance on Kashmir as a key campaign point.

The UK is set to go to the polls on July 4, with the Conservative Party, led by Rishi Sunak, facing a significant challenge. In a recent letter coinciding with Eid al-Adha, Longhi emphasized his commitment to advocating for the people of Kashmir, highlighting the Indian government’s “atrocities” in the region. He posed the question, “Who will speak for Kashmir in Parliament?” in an attempt to rally support from voters who are deeply concerned about the ongoing conflict.

India maintains a firm position that Jammu and Kashmir, along with Ladakh, are integral and inalienable parts of the country. This stance was reiterated following the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, which has indicated that the situation for Kashmiris could become even more difficult in the months ahead. Longhi’s letter expressed concern over Modi’s recent declarations about pursuing full statehood for Kashmir, a move that would strip Kashmiris of any remaining sovereign rights and special status.

The Conservative MP’s appeal comes at a critical juncture, with the UK elections serving as a litmus test for the Conservative Party’s policies and leadership under Sunak. Longhi’s pledge to amplify the voice of Kashmir in Parliament sets him apart from the Labour Party’s candidate, aiming to secure votes from a community deeply invested in the Kashmir issue.

As the election date approaches, Longhi’s outreach to the British Pakistani community highlights the growing importance of international issues in local elections, and the influence of diaspora communities in shaping political discourse in the UK.