Kashmir and Palestine foremost on OIC's agenda, says special envoy

Updated March 03, 2020

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Organisation of Islamic Cooperation secretary general’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir Ambassador Yousef M. Al Dobeay addresses a media conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation secretary general’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir Ambassador Yousef M. Al Dobeay addresses a media conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)'s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir Ambassador Yousef M. Al Dobeay said on Tuesday that the "OIC has always strongly supported the resolution of the Kashmir issue and the resolution of both Kashmir and Palestine issues stand at the top of OIC's agenda."

He made these remarks during a press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The special envoy is part of a six-member delegation that reached Pakistan on Monday for a five-day visit to witness the destruction and sufferings caused by ceasefire violations by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC).

"The issue of Kashmir is very close to our heart and all members are on the same page regarding its resolution," Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying. He added that a detailed report on Indian-occupied Kashmir will be presented to the office of the secretary general on his return.

Qureshi expresses hope OIC "will create room for Pakistan's expectations"

Qureshi said that Pakistanis have certain expectations from the OIC and expressed the hope that it will not disappoint them.

The foreign minister also expressed the hope that Al Dobeay will "make [the organisation] more aware [about Kashmir] and tell them the expectations of the Pakistani people" after his tour of the country.

Qureshi said that during his meeting with Al Dobeay, he made him "aware of the expectations the people of Pakistan have from the OIC and the importance they give to it."

"Pakistan is one of the founding members of the OIC. We were convinced of its importance before and we are convinced of it today."

Qureshi revealed that he had told the Saudi foreign minister during an earlier meeting that "the [Kashmir] matter is so serious and it has such importance that an extraordinary session of the foreign ministers should happen. We believe this is the minimum requirement keeping in view the conditions."

He expressed the hope that when the special envoy would go back and brief the secretary general about these meetings and "the sensitivity of this issue, then they will create room for our expectations in the plan [the OIC] is forming as to how to move forward regarding this issue."

He expressed the hope that the OIC would not disappoint Pakistanis. "When there are raised hopes, there is also increased disappointment when there is no progress ... [people] also have complaints."

The foreign minister informed the media that the OIC's special envoy had been briefed about the importance and need for implementing the resolutions of the [UN] security council on the [Kashmir] issue.

"[Al Dobeay] was made aware of the threat this problem poses to peace and security ... it is in front of you, a small demonstration of which you saw in February 2019 when two countries faced each other.

"The special envoy was also told about the discriminatory laws [in India] and our concerns about them specifically the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. Besides us, there is an atmosphere of protest against them by minorities other than Muslims and various people who believe these laws are discriminatory and inappropriate including several prominent members of the Hindu community who have raised a firm voice against this law through their statements and interactions," Qureshi said.

The foreign minister said the OIC's envoy was also made aware of the protests in Delhi which claimed the lives of 46 people, while numerous people were injured and are in hospitals, mosques were burnt, and other acts that "have hurt Muslims". He also reminded Al Dobeay that the mandate of his organisation is the defence of the rights of Muslims.

Read: New Delhi violence death toll rises to 46 as capital remains on edge

"We also shared in meetings with him the human rights violations there [in India] and the situation at the Line of Control, the ceasefire violations and how civilians are being targeted," Qureshi added.

While appreciating the six-member delegation's visit to Pakistan, the foreign minister termed it the "first and concrete step of the OIC playing its role in this serious and very sensitive problem".

"The OIC itself has multiple resolutions on this. We are grateful that whenever we raised this issue in the OIC, we got a positive response."

He also said that the foreign secretary had a "long meeting" with Al-Dobeay in which he briefed him about the current situation in Kashmir.

Read: 6 months on, IOK still under India's clampdown — here's everything you need to know

"He also met the head of the Kashmir Committee who conveyed his feelings and sentiments to him. He met a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and exchanged thoughts with them ... these are the people who are aware of every moment, their near and dear go through Indian atrocities every day."

"The secretary general of the UN also visited recently and you are aware of what he said, his concern about the sensitivity of this issue and the human rights violations ... and how he brought the world's attention to the importance of the resolutions and the need for implementing those resolutions," he concluded.