FO rejects India’s remarks on outcome of OIC session

Published March 26, 2022
Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar addresses a press conference on March 24. — Screengrab via FO Facebook
Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar addresses a press conference on March 24. — Screengrab via FO Facebook

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday rejected as ‘totally untenable’ and ‘irresponsible’ statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the outcome of unanimously adopted resolutions at the recently held session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM).

The OIC-CFM in its Islamabad session supported Pakistan’s call for a joint probe to establish the facts surrounding the recent firing of a missile into Pakistan’s territory from India. The OIC in a resolution also urged India to “work constructively with Pakistan for enhancing regional security and stability through the settlement of outstanding disputes and positively responding to Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime, including measures for arms control, restraint and confidence building”.

The FO spokesman, in a statement, noted the OIC was a collective voice of the Muslim Ummah and the second largest international organisation after the United Nations, with 57 members and six observer states. “The OIC has a longstanding principled position in support of the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination granted to them by the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. While refusing to implement the UNSC resolutions, India has for decades tried to suppress the voice of the Kashmiris through brutal and indiscriminate use of force and gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK),” the statement added.

Besides, the FO pointed out, the ascendant BJP-RSS-inspired “Hindutva” ideology restricted the space for religious minorities in India, especially Muslims whose persecution under state patronage has become a norm in today’s India. “The OIC has accordingly condemned massive human rights abuses in IIOJK, and has once again firmly rejected India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 and subsequent steps aimed at altering the demographic composition of the occupied territory,” the FO spokesman explained.

He said the OIC had denounced the blatant and widespread discrimination, intolerance and violence against Muslims in India, and called upon India to ensure their rights, including religious freedom.

However, reacting to the OIC resolutions and statements, the Indian MEA said the references made to India were based on ‘falsehoods and misrepresentation’. “The statements and resolutions adopted at the meeting demonstrate both the irrelevance of the OIC as a body and role of Pakistan as its manipulator,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

According to The Times of India on Thursday, he also warned all the nations and governments that associated themselves with such exercises to realise the impact it had on their “reputation”.

Commenting on the India’s reaction, the FO spokesman said: “Devoid of any logic or substance, the MEA statement reflects the frustration of a country that stands exposed and isolated. Instead of denying the historical facts and realities, attempting to mislead the international community through fictional claims over the disputed territory, and dismissing valid concerns as reflected in the OIC resolutions, India would be well-advised to pay heed, review its current behaviour, and act responsibly to urgently address those concerns.”

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2022

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