Pakistan thankful to OIC for supporting Kashmir issue


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday thanked the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for “drawing attention to the plight of Kashmiris” and highlighting their cause at the United Nations. 

In a virtual keynote address relayed at the ambassadorial meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in New York, Qureshi thanked the OIC “for effectively articulating the voice of the Islamic Ummah, in solidarity and support with the Kashmiris,” a Foreign Office statement said.

He also commended the group for “drawing attention to the plight of Kashmiris” at the UN. The meeting was attended by Permanent Representatives of Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey as well as officials from the OIC Observer Mission in New York. 

Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Highlighting Pakistan’s “grave concerns” over New Delhi’s moves in Indian-administered Kashmir, which “entails to changing the demographic structure of the occupied territory”, Qureshi called on India to “rescind its illegal and unilateral actions,” the statement added. 

He also urged New Delhi to provide access to human rights organizations, including the UN’s fact-finding mission, into parts of Indian-administered Kashmir, and seek a peaceful settlement to the dispute as per the UN Security Council resolution on the issue and the consensus of the Kashmiri people. 

The OIC Contact Group Ambassadors, for their part, “reiterated the OIC’s unwavering support to the just cause of the Kashmiri people,” the statement said. 

In November last year, during the 47th session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niamey, Niger, the group had adopted a resolution reaffirming its support for Kashmir. 

It follows New Delhi’s decision on Aug. 5, 2019, to scrap Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution which granted a special autonomous status to the region. 

It also divided the state into two federally administered units — Union Territory of Ladakh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The move was followed by a crackdown on political activity, arrests of hundreds of political leaders and activists, and a lockdown of the region. 

Kashmir is claimed in full but ruled in part by both India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over the region. The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of mostly-Muslim Kashmir. 

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said that a unified political message to India from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would be critical to help rescind Indian unilateral actions, end human rights abuses and seek peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute.

The foreign minister, in a video message at the ambassadorial meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir held in New York, said the steadfast and resolute support of the OIC was a source of great strength to the Kashmiri people in their just and legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.

The OIC should forcefully demand India to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions in occupied Kashmir; halt its egregious human rights violations, and provide access to human rights organisations, including the UN fact finding mission and OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, he said.

The foreign minister also sought the OIC’s role to seek a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people. He hoped that the Contact Group meeting would help identify action-oriented and practical steps to this end.