UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday, urging the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to enhance its efforts for a lasting solution to the dispute.

“There will be no peace in South Asia until a just and equitable resolution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is found,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir.

The foreign minister reminded the group, which meets in New York every year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the oppressed people of India-held Kashmir were now heavily reliant on the OIC and the Muslim ummah.

OIC Secretary General Yousaf Al-Othaimeen, who chaired the meeting, that the organisation was aware of their problems and was willing to play its role in resolving the dispute.

Reaffirming OIC’s commitment to “a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Mr Othaimeen said that this solution must be one “the relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the wishes of the Kashmiri people”. He also recalled that the Kashmir issue has been raised regularly at OIC summits and meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, reflecting the widespread support the issue had in the Muslim world.

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a senior representative of Niger attended the meeting and delivered statements. The meeting took stock of the political and security environment as well as the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). This was the only OIC Contact Group meeting held on the margins of the 76th UNGA Session.

Foreign Minister Qureshi, who led the Pakistan delegation at the meeting, drew attention to the worsening situation in IIOJK since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019. He stated that the RSS-BJP regime in India was implementing what its rulers ominously called a “Final Solution” for IIOJK.

Highlighting the plight of the Kashmiris, he informed the participants that Indian occupation forces continue to conduct cordon-and-search operations, put down protests violently, use pellet-guns indiscriminately, imprison Kashmiri political leaders, abduct and torture children and women, and stage fake encounters in IIOJK.

Statements from the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the OIC-Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) were made part of the meeting’s record.

Members of the Contact Group expressed solidarity with the people of IIOJK and shared their deep concern at the continued violations by India of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people.

Joint communiqué

In the unanimously adopted Communiqué, the Contact Group:

• Reaffirmed its support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom from Indian occupation;

• Denounced the unilateral and illegal Indian actions of 5 August 2019;

• Rejected the attempts to change the demographic structure of IIOJK through the issuance of over 4.2 million domiciles to non-Kashmiri Indian citizens;

• Welcomed the meetings of the UN Security Council on 16 August 2019, 15 January 2020 and 5 August 2020 to discuss the grave situation in the IIOJK;

• Condemned the criminal and reprehensible act of snatching the mortal remains of Syed Ali Geelani by the Indian occupation forces from his family and denying them the right to organise a funeral in accordance with his wishes and Islamic traditions;

• Called upon the international community to take immediate cognizance of the compelling evidence contained in the Dossier issued by the Government of Pakistan on 12 September 2021 and to hold India accountable for the heinous crimes being committed by the Indian occupation forces in the IIOJK.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021

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