OIC condemns Indian incursion against Pakistan, urges both sides to exercise restraint

Published February 26, 2019
The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir pictured during their meeting held to discuss escalation in Indian atrocities, in Jeddah, on February 26, 2019. — OIC
The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir pictured during their meeting held to discuss escalation in Indian atrocities, in Jeddah, on February 26, 2019. — OIC

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday condemned India's violation of the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan earlier in the day, urging both countries to exercise restraint.

In the early hours of Tuesday, the Pakistan Army had revealed through a tweet that the "Indian Air Force violated Line of Control", following which "Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled" and the Indian aircraft went back.

"The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation condemned this action against an OIC founding member state," the Organisation stated in one of a series of tweets.

The Twitter statement went on to say that the OIC "condemned the Indian incursion and aerial violation and dropping of four bombs today, 26 February, 2019."

It urged both sides to "exercise restraint and avoid any steps that could endanger peace and security in the region".

The OIC also called upon India and Pakistan "to act responsibly and encouraged them to seek [a] peaceful solution to the current crisis without resort[ing] to use of force".

It further called on them to "embrace dialogue and work towards de-escalation of [the] current situation as a matter of priority".

The OIC statement comes hours after Pakistani politicians in a National Assembly session held in the aftermath of the Indian LoC violation severely criticised the OIC decision to invite Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj as a 'guest of honour' at an inaugural session of the OIC foreign ministers' conclave scheduled for next month in Abu Dhabi.

PML-N stalwart Khwaja Asif suggested that Pakistan boycott the meeting. "It is an insult that our enemy is being invited as a guest of honour by a country friendly to us at a time when Kashmiris are facing bloodshed. It has not happened in the last 45 years," he asserted.

Former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq also called on the government to raise the issue with the OIC, saying the group had "no power to invite India without seeking the consent of member states".

On Tuesday evening, Geo News quoted Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi as saying that he will boycott the OIC meeting in Abu Dhabi if the invitation to Swaraj is not withdrawn.

Kashmir contact group calls for immediate de-escalation

Also on Tuesday, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir expressed grave concern at the rising tensions in South Asia and strongly condemned the recent wave of repression, killing of innocent civilians, and frequent incidents of rape perpetrated by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir (IoK).

The contact group had held an emergency meeting on Pakistan's request at the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah.

The meeting was chaired on behalf of the secretary-general by Assistant Secretary-General Amb Hameed A Opeloyeru, and attended by Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Permanent Representatives of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Niger.

Also in attendance at the meeting was the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

In his opening remarks, the assistant secretary-general reiterated OIC's position on supporting the people of IoK in achieving their legitimate rights, including the right of self-determination.

He emphasised that the conflict should be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiris and OIC and United Nations resolutions.

Foreign Secretary Janjua apprised the participants about the recent Indian threats to regional peace and security, continued Indian repression, and recent escalation in atrocities against innocent Kashmiris.

She reaffirmed Pakistan's political, moral and diplomatic support to the people of IoK in their struggle to achieve the right to self-determination. She reminded the participants of Prime Minister Imran Khan's concrete offer for dialogue to India.

AJK President Masood Khan also briefed the members on the "continued oppressive policies of Indian security forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir that [have] alienated Kashmiris".

The contact group, in response, appreciated the prime minister's offer for peace and dialogue to India to resolve all issues.

The group also expressed deep concern over heightened tensions between Pakistan and India and called for an immediate de-escalation in the region.

The members of the body reiterated their support to the people of IoK and called on India to "immediately stop repressive security operations against the people of Jammu and Kashmir and respect fundamental and basic human rights".

The group asked India to address the dispute in accordance with the relevant OIC and UN Security Council resolutions, the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and the "principle of self-determination and human rights".

It called on the OIC and the UN secretaries-general to use their offices to "put an end to the dangerous escalation by India" which it said was a threat to regional peace and security. It was underscored that priority should be given to peace and dialogue.

The contact group was formed in 1994 to coordinate OIC's policy on Jammu and Kashmir.

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