OIC body rejects Art 370 move

OIC body rejects Art 370 move

A key body of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Monday backed the Kashmiri people’s demand for self-determination and rejected the Indian government’s decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

A virtual meeting of the OIC’s contact group on Kashmir, held on Pakistan’s call, adopted a communique that also expressed concern over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and called on India to “rescind its unilateral and illegal actions, and allow the Kashmiri people to freely exercise their right to self-determination through a UN-supervised plebiscite”.

A statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the communiqué was unanimously adopted by the contact group.

A separate statement issued by the OIC said the contact group reaffirmed continued support for the Kashmiri people and called on the UN secretary-general to make India abide by the UN Security Council resolutions and “engage in dialogue to calm the situation in the region”.

The contact group called on India to halt security operations in Kashmir, respect basic human rights, “refrain from changing the demographic structure” of the region and settle the issue under UN Security Council resolutions, according to the OIC statement.

The statement added the contact group had welcomed efforts by some OIC members to calm the situation between India and Pakistan.

There was no immediate response to the developments from Indian officials. India has traditionally described such actions by the OIC as interference in the country’s internal matters.

Pakistan has been pushing for such a meeting on the Kashmir issue since the Indian government scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last August and split the erstwhile state into two union territories. However, India’s close friends within the OIC, including several Arab states, had stymied these efforts.

The communique, according to the statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry, reaffirmed “support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom from Indian occupation” and rejected the “newly-notified Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Order 2020 and Jammu & Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate Rules 2020”, claiming they were “aimed at changing the demographic structure” of Kashmir.

The contact group demanded India should halt “human rights violations; stop indiscriminate use of force; lift the unabated military siege and inhuman lockdown; repeal its draconian emergency laws…and release all illegal detainees”.

OIC secretary general Yousaf Al-Othaimeen chaired the virtual meeting that was joined by the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a senior representative of Niger. Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi led the Pakistani delegation, which included the “president” of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and representatives of Hurriyat from PoK.

Qureshi conveyed Pakistan’s concern at the new domicile rules in Kashmir, alleging they were meant to change the demographic structure. He alleged India had intensified ceasefire violations along the LoC.


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