Mumbai: The Friends of India Society International, United Kingdom (FISI UK) has raised strong objections with the UK Charity Commission over some pro-Pakistani charities demanding that the Labour party adopt anti-India stand on Jammu and Kashmir in lieu of their votes in UK elections. In a recent statement issued by the FISI UK over an alleged letter written by some pro-Pakistani charities arguing that it violated the UK Charity Commission’s guidelines for campaigning and political activities for charities.
The FISI UK argued that recently out of the 100 odd pro-Pakistani minority associations, 68 minority charities signed a letter to the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, saying that they would ask the minority community to abstain from voting Labour unless it supports Kashmir’s right of self-determination. This followed after Sir Starmer stated that Kashmir is a ‘bilateral matter’ between India and Pakistan. It is notable that of these 100 organisations, 68 are UK registered charities.
FISI argued that by making such pre-conditions for the political support of their community, these charities are in breach of the UK Charity Commission’s rules.
As per the rules laid down by Charity Commission for England and Wales in February 2017, the Legal requirement is that – “to be a charity an organisation must be established for charitable purposes only, which are for the public benefit. An organisation will not be charitable if its purposes are political”.
Furthermore, the rules state that “a charity cannot exist for a political purpose, which is any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party, or securing or opposing a change in the law, policy or decisions either in this country or abroad”.
The UK Charity Commission’s rules further state that “a charity must stress its independence and ensure that any involvement it has with political parties is balanced. A charity must not give support or funding to a political party, nor to a candidate or politician”.
The FISI UK further argued that the rules clearly state that a charity cannot have a political purpose. Nor can a charity undertake political activity that is not relevant to, and does not have a reasonable likelihood of, supporting its charitable purposes. These UK registered charities who are signatories to the letter are in direct breach of the Charity commission’s rules and requests the Commission to investigate the matter, demanded the FISI UK in its statement.