NEW YORK: Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani on Tuesday called for immediate cessation of Indian atrocities in India-held Kashmir (IHK), urging the Indian government to opt for a peaceful settlement of the dispute in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and United Nations Security Council resolutions.
In an OIC contact group meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the Sec-Gen expressed deep concern over the grave situation in IHK, saying that although Indian forces could physically blind Kashmiris by means of pellet guns, they could not blind them to the realisation of their right to self-determination.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Masood Khan provided a detailed overview of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law being carried out by Indian forces in IHK and representatives of the Kashmiri people briefed the meeting about continued Indian brutalities in the region, particularly in the wake of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s murder in July.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the Kashmir dispute is central to lasting peace and stability in South Asia, and regretted that India had failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s proposal of meaningful engagement for the resolution of the dispute.
Aziz said that Indian brutalities in IHK showed their most horrendous face in the wake of Wani’s killing.
“As a result of the deliberate and inhuman use of pellet guns by Indian forces against the peaceful Kashmiri protesters, over 100 innocent civilians have lost their lives, while more than 8,000 are injured. More than 150 people have become permanently blind and the eyesight of another 350 has been seriously damaged,” Aziz said.
The adviser stressed that these repressive measures could not break the spirit of the Kashmiri people and their struggle for self-determination.
Others present at the meeting included the foreign ministers of Turkey and Azerbaijan, and senior representatives from Niger and Saudi Arabia.
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Turkey expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation in the IHK and human rights violations perpetrated by India against the people of Kashmir.
The Turkish foreign minister emphasised the urgency of resolving the dispute, especially in the wake of the recent events. He said that the resolution of the Kashmir dispute was important for regional peace and to ensure development in South Asia.
He added that the dispute remained a major obstacle in Pakistan-India relations and the humanitarian aspect required the urgent attention of the international community.
The foreign minister of Azerbaijan stated that OIC should think of innovative means to highlight the human rights violations happening in IHK, and may consider taking tangible steps to help those in IHK.
The idea of asking the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a fact-finding mission to IHK was strongly supported.
The representative of the government of Niger observed that despite calls to the Indian government to show restraint in the region by numerous countries, the situation in IHK had become more serious.
He said that the International community could not remain indifferent in the wake of such grave human rights violations, and urged the OIC to continue mobilising the international community to resolve this long-standing conflict as per the UNSC resolutions.
OIC Contact Group members expressed solidarity with the struggle of the Kashmiri people and reaffirmed their resolve to remain the voice of Kashmiris at the international stage.
The conclusions of the meeting were adopted and will be submitted for appropriate action to the council of foreign ministers of the OIC.