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OIC’s call for referendum in IOK

The OIC contact group on Kashmir while reaffirming its all out support to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination has called for holding an impartial plebiscite to put an end to long-drawn conflict that has been major cause and consequence of rights of violations in the territory under Indian occupation. The call for holding a referendum in Kashmir was made by OIC Contact Group, comprising foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Niger, during a meeting , which took place in New York. The Contact Group meeting is arranged every year on the sidelines of UN General Assembly’s session. Besides the Foreign Ministers of brotherly Muslim countries, the representatives of Kashmir people are specially invited in the meeting with a view to bring to attention of the world community their point of view and to highlight the plight and miseries being inflicted upon Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces.
In his opening remarks, the OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen condemned the continued killing of innocent Kashmiri civilians and the recent spike of escalating atrocities by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. He emphasized that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved in accordance with the aspiration of the Kashmiri people, as enshrined in the UN Security Council’s resolutions. He also referred to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report and endorsed the recommendation to constitute Commission of Inquiry for investigating abuses of human rights in Kashmir. He also called for genuine dialogue between Pakistan and India on all issues including the Kashmir dispute.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the occasion reiterated his country’s demand urging the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to expedite action to constitute the commission of inquiry to investigate gross human rights violations in India-held Kashmir. Qureshi stated that the shadows of oppression and deprivation had loomed for too long on India-held Kashmir while the international community had long turned a blind eye to the violence perpetrated by India. In their statements, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Niger and the ambassador of Saudi Arabia expressed their support for peaceful settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and called upon India to observe UN standards enshrined in the human rights instruments and international law.
President AJK in his speech made a fervent appeal to the OIC, on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to use its good offices to urge the United Nations to impress upon India to immediately end human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Referring to the Indian government’s designs to abolish Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, President Masood said such attempts are a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Additional Protocol I and the ICC Statute and referred to them as war crimes. Khan also raised the issue of grave human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian forces in India-held Kashmir with impunity.
Though it is heartening to see that OIC the second largest forum in the world has always extended its consistent, unwavering and steadfast support to Kashmiris’ struggle for right to self-determination. But it is quite unfortunate that the Muslim body has not been able to translate this verbal support into action as a result there has been no change whatsoever in the situation in the held territory. The worsening human rights situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir demands that the OIC, which is the collective voice of the Muslim around the world, should move beyond rhetoric and redouble its efforts to put an immediate end to bloodshed and violence in the region. Issuing statements and adopting ritualistic resolutions on Kashmir in its annual conferences is simply not enough, this kind of a strategy won’t really help to change the situation in the occupied Kashmir. It is high time that the member countries of the second largest organization should use their enormous political and economic clout and pool in their efforts to mount pressure on government of India to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the OIC to visit Kashmir to asses on ground situation in region.

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