Kashmir remains top priority of OIC agenda 

Islamabad, January 03, 2023 (PPI-OT):Indian oppression and atrocities in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir need no introduction. They are well documented and the world seems to be rising from its deep slumber to realize the fact that the continuing Indian state terrorism in the occupied territory has led to the persecution and torture of hundreds of thousands of innocent Kashmiris. Time and again voices have been raised and commitments reaffirmed in support of Kashmiris’ liberation struggle and granting them their right to self-determination promised by United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The wholehearted support of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to the cause of Kashmiri people has always been a source of encouragement not only for the Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination but also for Pakistan, which wants a just settlement of the lingering dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiri people.

The three day visit of OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha, to Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir from December 11-13, 2022 proves the point that the OIC is also a strong proponent of protection and promotion of all basic human rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people facing the worst Indian state terrorism in their struggle for right to self-determination. The OIC chief was on his first visit to Pakistan after assuming office in November 2021.

During their visit, the OIC Secretary General and his delegation held meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders, and held discussions encompassing the peace and security, human rights and humanitarian and legal aspects of the grave situation in IIOJK. The OIC Secretary General’s visit reinforced the centrality of a just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to lasting peace in South Asia.

The delegation also visited Azad Jammu and Kashmir where it held meetings with AJK President, Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry, and Prime Minister, Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, and also visited the Line of Control (LoC) and refugee camps and took stock of the situation. The OIC chief also laid a wreath at the Jammu and Kashmir Monument in Muzaffarabad, built in memory of the Kashmiri martyrs and their struggle. He also paid glowing tributes to the Kashmiri martyrs who have laid down their lives for a sacred cause of freedom from the Indian yoke.

Addressing a press conference in Muzaffarabad, the OIC Secretary General said Kashmir is on the top priority of the OIC’s agenda and he will submit a comprehensive assessment report on the human rights situation in Kashmir to the member countries. He said that he was visiting AJK under the resolutions passed by the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation and will submit a comprehensive report to the group and Foreign Ministers’ Council of the member countries and would like to seek permission from India to visit the other side of the LoC.

He said that second purpose of his visit was to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir who had been suffering for long time and assured them that the OIC, being a Muslim representative organisation, was making constant efforts to find a solution to their issue in consultation with the world community. He said during his day-long visit to AJK, he met with people affected by Indian firing across the LoC and refugees from IIOJK to assess their problems and sufferings and make the same part of his assessment report.

In his meeting with Hissein Brahim Taha, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif lauded the OIC for its principled position and consistent support to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The Prime Minister talking to the OIC chief mentioned the support of OIC for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. The Prime Minister highlighted the grim human rights and humanitarian situation in IIOJK.

Welcoming the Secretary General’s historic visit to AJK and LoC), he underscored that the visit would send a strong message of support from the OIC to the Kashmiri people in their just struggle for right to self-determination. The prime minister also renewed unwavering support of the people and the government of Pakistan to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause. He reiterated that any solution of the Palestine issue must be based on the pre-1967 border with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

The OIC Secretary General reaffirmed the OIC’s full support for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and OIC Secretary General, Hissein Brahim Taha, held delegation level talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Office Spokesperson in a press release said that during the meeting, issues related to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, human rights situation in IIOJK, Palestine issue, Islamophobia and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan were discussed.

Both sides also exchanged views on vital issues of economic, social and technological cooperation among the OIC member countries. Meanwhile, the illegally detained All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Masarrat Aalam Butt, welcomed the OIC Secretary General, Hissein Brahim Taha’s strongly-worded statement on Kashmir during his visit to Pakistan. He expressed the hope that the Muslim countries will collectively raise their voice for the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

Masarrat Aalam Butt in a special message from New Delhi’s infamous Tihar Jail said the time has come when New Delhi should be given a shut-up call for practicing brutal methods of coercion to punish the Kashmiris for demanding the UN-guaranteed right. He urged the OIC and the international community to come to the rescue of oppressed people of IIOJK.

The APHC Chairman said that India was subjecting Hurriyat leaders, media persons, rights activists and even ordinary Kashmiris to illegal arrests in fake cases to break their resolve for freedom. “The Modi regime is deliberately prolonging illegal detention of Kashmiri prisoners under draconian laws like Public Safety Act (PSA) and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to punish them for their political beliefs and is denying space to Hurriyat leaders by arresting them on fake charges,” he added.

Masarrat Aalam Butt said India is using notorious agencies like National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and State Investigation Agency (SIA) as a weapon to intimidate the Kashmiris. Hundreds of Kashmiris including Hurriyat leaders are presently facing detentions under PSA and UAPA in Indian jails, he deplored.

A delegation of APHC-AJK chapter headed by Convener, Mehmood Ahmed Saghar, met the OIC Assistant Secretary General, Yousef Aldoubeay, and presented him a memorandum on India’s anti-Kashmiris’ measures in IIOJK. The delegation apprised Yousef Aldoubeay, who is also OIC’s Special Envoy on Kashmir, about the Indian machinations including widespread human rights violations, demographic changes, gerrymandering in the name of delimitation of assembly constituencies and land grab in the occupied territory.

Permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to OIC Dr Saleh Hammad, Permanent Representative of Turkiye to OIC Mehmet Metin Eker; and Nigerian representative were also present in the meeting. The APHC-AJK delegation included Mehmood Ahmad Saghar, Syed Faiz Naqasbandi, Syed Yousaf Naseem, Altaf Hussain Wani, Sanaullah Dar, Javed Ahmed Butt and Nisar Mirza.

The OIC dignitary was also informed about banning of religious and political organisations and closure of schools in IIOJK that has put the education of thousands of students at risk. Yousef Aldoubeay reiterated his support to the Kashmir cause and stressed the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions. “We will prepare full report on this visit and will submit the same to counsel of foreign ministers,” he assured the APHC-AJK delegation.

The visit of the OIC Secretary General to the LoC as part of the preparation of an assessment report on human rights situation in IIOJK, which would be submitted to the member countries and OIC Foreign Ministers’ Council, would go a long way in highlighting the just cause of the Kashmiri people and the worst kind of atrocities being committed by Indian occupation forces against those whose only crime is to seek their birth right of self-determination.

To make the report more meaningful and comprehensive, the OIC has also planned to seek permission from India to visit IIOJK as well. However, there are slim chances that New Delhi would allow any fact-finding mission to the occupied territory as its forces’ personnel are engaged in massive human rights violations and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris but the move would expose the real designs of India. In case India persists with its policy of black-out in occupied Kashmir, the OIC has the option of recording eye-witness accounts of the Kashmiri leadership, academia, analysts and journalists. People of Kashmir hope the report would be finalized at the earliest and distributed widely throughout the globe as part of the efforts to sensitize the world’s public opinion on expeditious and peaceful resolution of the lingering dispute.

It is a good sign that the international community is expressing its resentment over India’s brutal actions in IIOJK. The world organisations like the United Nations, European Union, OIC, and the human rights bodies including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Asia Watch have been condemning from time to time the Indian state terrorism in the occupied territory. However, their actions had so far remained confined to mere issuance of statements and reports and failed to force India to stop its brutalities against the innocent and unarmed people of occupied Kashmir.

These organisations particularly the UN and OIC need to take practical steps to impress upon New Delhi to halt the grave human rights violations, in fact crimes against humanity, being perpetrated by its troops in the occupied territory and initiate measures to resolve the Kashmir dispute by giving the people of Jammu and Kashmir an opportunity to exercise their right to self-determination to decide their political future by themselves.

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