MAKKAH AL MUKARRAMAH: For the first time in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) 50-year history, the President of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, was specially invited to attend the 14th OIC Islamic Summit where he represented the people of Jammu and Kashmir as the True Representative.
Before this, the President of Azad Kashmir regularly attended and addressed the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting for the Foreign Ministers and Contact Group Meetings on Jammu and Kashmir, but this is the first time that a representative of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been invited to the OIC Summit. The President as a True Representative of the Kashmiri people attended the OIC Islamic Summit which he said was an acknowledgement of Kashmiris efforts for liberty.
This remarkable development displays the OIC’s commitment and resolve towards the Kashmir dispute and the recognition of the rightful struggle of the Kashmiri people for their right to self-determination.
President Masood Khan was also extended a special invitation by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to a Sahur (Sehri) hosted in the honour of the heads of states attending the Islamic Summit.
At the OIC Summit, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan in his speech emphatically raised the issue of Kashmir twice underlining the need for the realization of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris and said that the movements in Indian Occupied Kashmir and Palestine could not be called Islamic terrorism or Islamic radicalism. He reiterated Pakistan’s strong stance to resolve Kashmir dispute, saying it must be resolved as per UN resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris
The President of AJK conveyed his deepest gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and His Majesty Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, as the host of the OIC Summit, for opening this space for the representation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Sardar Masood Khan also thanked the OIC Secretary General Dr. Yusuf A. Al-Othaimeen for defending the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and calling for an end to the human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. He particularly welcomed his statement that the struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for self-determination could not be equated with terrorism.
In early March this year, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Sawaraj had been invited as a ‘Guest of Honour’ to attend the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting in Abu Dhabi. As a protest, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister had not attended that meeting because India’s attendance at the ministerial conference was seen as a negative and toxic development as it continues to deny the Kashmiris right to self-determination and had intensified its seven-decade long repression of the Kashmiris after the Pulwama attack in February this year.
The AJK President’s attendance of the Summit balances, to some extent, the diplomatic misrepresentation that had been created by the invitation to the Indian External Affairs Minister.
Sharing his impressions after the OIC summit, the President said that the Kashmiri movement for self-determination is gaining recognition in the international community as the world is becoming fully aware of the horrific crimes being committed by India in Occupied Kashmir.
“The OIC and global community are rooting for dialogue and multilateral diplomacy for a peaceful solution and rejecting India’s militaristic, repressive approach”, he said.
“Peace in the region hinges on Kashmir. A resolution of the dispute is an imperative, not an option. Diplomacy must get traction before it’s too late. A war on Kashmir, with all its dangerous consequences, must be averted by resolving the issue”, the President underlined.
Earlier, speaking at the Ministerial Meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, on May 29, the President presented to the 14th OIC Summit a 9-point formula for a diplomatic solution of the Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people.
His points included asking India to recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with international law and resolve the issue of Kashmir through the implementation of the UN resolutions. He also urged the OIC to press on India to end its gross human rights violations in IOK and to withdraw bulk of its troops. He also asked Indian to release Hurriyat leaders and other political prisoners who have been falsely imprisoned.
The President also maintained that a multilateral diplomatic process for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute must be reactivated. He in this regard urged the UN Secretary General to play his role to resolve the Kashmir dispute and appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir. He urged the OIC members in the Human Rights Council to take an initiative for the formation of a Commission of Inquiry on IOK and also allow OIC’s Human Rights Commission and its Special Envoy on Kashmir to visit IOK. Citing the recommendations of the OIC’s own Human Rights Commission, he said that development projects in the livelihood, health and education sectors in IOK and refugees’ camps in AJK be initiated, with the help of the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund; and a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement against India be brought into force to pressurize it to meet its human rights obligations.
“Kashmiris, he said, look up to the OIC and consider the OIC to be their family. In this dark hour, the Kashmiris look towards the OIC with hope. They do so, even as they count their dead bodies every day and try to nurse their mortal wounds”, he said.
The President impressed upon the dignitaries that the Kashmiris aspire that one day they will be free from tyranny and this unimaginable suffering – that has not been witnessed in recent history. Kashmiris remain resolute in their faith to win liberty and aspire for peace as they do not want Kashmir to be a nuclear flashpoint, but a symbol of amity and connectivity, he said.