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OIC reaffirms support to people of Kashmir

February 07, 2013

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar speaks during an OIC contact group meeting on Kashmir during 12th OIC Summit in Cairo on Thursday. – Photo by INP

ISLAMABAD: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday reaffirmed its support to the people of Kashmir— a disputed area between India and Pakistan— for their right of self determination.

The 12th OIC Summit, held in Cairo on Feb 6 and 7, adopted a joint communique, which besides addressing issues of interest and concern to the Muslims around the globe, has reaffirmed its support to the Kashmiris

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar led the Pakistani delegation to the 12th Islamic Summit.

The communique also urged India to allow the OIC fact-finding mission, the international human rights groups and humanitarian organisations to visit Jammu and Kashmir.

The Islamic body has urged India to undertake independent investigation into the discovery of mass graves and ensure free and fair trial of those responsible for the heinous crimes.

In addition, the communique expressed deep concern on the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and welcomed Pakistan's proposal to hold investigation through United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UMMOGIP).

On Afghanistan, the final communique has also affirmed support to the people of Afghanistan, and appreciated Pakistan's efforts in hosting a large number of Afghan refugees.

The summit expressed satisfaction on the progress made in establishing new OIC organs including the Independent Permanent Commission of Human Rights (IPCHR) and the OIC Women Development Organisation (WDO). Pakistan is already a signatory to the Statute of WDO.

On the sidelines of the summit, the Pakistani foreign minister held a number of bilateral meetings with her counterparts in Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and UAE.

She exchanged views on regional and international developments.

The summit had brought together leaders of the Islamic countries to discuss political, economic and socio-cultural issues of significance to the Muslim world including the Palestine issue, situations in Syria and Mali, and “Islamophobia.”

Pakistan as a founder member of the OIC participated actively in the summit and preparatory ministerial and senior officials meetings. Pakistan was also elected as vice-chair of the summit.

In her statement to the summit, the foreign minister underscored the need to address daunting challenges faced by the Muslim world through unity, solidarity, and a spirit of Islamic brotherhood.

She briefed the participating leaders on the deepening of democratic process in Pakistan that has led to strengthening of democratic institutions, flow of resources to provinces and local governments, and enactment of legislation on protecting fundamental freedoms, and women, children and minorities' rights.

Khar affirmed that Pakistan remained committed to the composite dialogue process with India to resolve all outstanding issues.

Reiterating Pakistan's support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, the foreign minister said that her country was extending all possible assistance to intra-Afghan reconciliation process.

FM Khar expressed concern on the continuing trend of “Islamophobia” and emphasised the need for developing a unified strategy for preventing religious hatred and defamation of religions on the pretext of freedom of expression.

Underscoring the need to increase intra-OIC trade and economic cooperation, the foreign minister presented various proposals for the advancement of science and technology under the patronage of the OIC standing committee on science and technology (COMSTECH).

The president of Pakistan is the chairman of COMSTECH, which is exploring the possibility of convening an OIC Summit on science and technology.

The OIC contact group on Jammu and Kashmir also met on the sidelines of the Summit. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Khar and the secretary general OIC, and was attended by high officials from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Niger, who reiterated their continued support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, and different representatives from Kashmir also participated in the meeting. They presented a memorandum on the Kashmir cause.