NEW YORK- The Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) on Wednesday asked India to reverse its decision of revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and allow "full and free access" to international bodies, including OIC and United Nations (UN), to independently investigate reports of "gross and systematic human rights violations taking place there."
The statement by the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries was issued following a meeting of foreign ministers of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir held on the sidelines of 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi represented his country at the meeting and briefed the OIC members about the prevailing situation in Kashmir following New Delhi''s August 5 move to abrogate Article 370 which granted special status to J&K.
The OIC Contact Group, after detailed deliberations, adopted a unanimous resolution expressing serious concerns over the "deepening human rights situation" in Kashmir.
It declared Kashmir as an "internationally recognised dispute", and demanded that India immediately reverse its "illegal" Kashmir move and give "firm assurances that no changes would be brought to the disputed territory till the final settlement in line with the UN Security Council resolution," the Express Tribune reported.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayeb Erdogan for raising the Kashmir issue in his UN General Assembly speech. Imran Khan urged other countries, including Muslim states, to follow suit and "go beyond political and economic considerations."
The adoption of a unanimous resolution by the OIC in New York is being portrayed as a diplomatic success for Pakistan as the member states not only endorsed Islamabad''s stance on Kashmir, but also publicly voiced concern over the human rights violations in the Himalayan region, the Tribune reported.
Qureshi told reporters that the unanimous adoption of a joint communique on Kashmir showed that the "entire Muslim Ummah stands" united on Kashmir.
He said that never before did the OIC issue such an explicit statement on the Kashmir issue.
Qureshi noted that all the OIC ministers expressed their views on Kashmir and he could not differentiate between Pakistan''s stance and what the Saudi Foreign Minister had stated during the meeting. "This should put to rest all the speculation," Qureshi said.
According to him, the OIC resolution affirmed that Indian actions were inconsistent with international laws, applicable UN Security Council resolutions and India''s own solemn commitments to implement the world body''s resolutions.
The joint communique also expressed grave concern that India''s actions aimed to change the identity and demographic composition of the Valley to transform it from a Muslim-majority region into a Hindu-majority territory.
"It also deplored the prolonged lockdown of the Kashmiri people, round-the-clock curfew and complete communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, and suppression of Kashmiri protesters who demand freedom from the Indian occupation," the communique said.
Serious concerns were expressed over the "arbitrary detention and arrest of thousands of people, including Kashmiri leadership, professionals and peaceful demonstrators, and their transportation to prisons and detention centres outside the valley".
"(The meeting also) deplored the indiscriminate use of force, live ammunition and use of pellet guns against unarmed protestors," read the resolution.
The OIC Contact Group reaffirmed its support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom from the "Indian occupation".
The OIC called on the UN Human Rights Council to accept and implement the recommendations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to establish a commission of enquiry to investigate human rights violations in Kashmir.
It declared "the Kashmir dispute is the core issue between Pakistan and India and its final settlement, in accordance with UNSC resolutions and a UN supervised plebiscite, is indispensable for durable peace and stability in South Asia and beyond”.
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