By Iftikhar Ali, Ali Imran
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 23 (APP): Reacting to the ongoing violence against people in the Occupied Kashmir, a panel of OIC foreign ministers asked India Wednesday to stop human rights violations and take steps to resolve lingering South Asian conflict peacefully.Meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, members of the Organization of Islamic Conference Contact Group on Kashmir reaffirmed their support for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. The meeting was addressed by heads of delegations of leading Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi renewed Islamabad’s support for the inalienable rights of the Kashmiri people, which have been denied by India.
The U.S. media, meanwhile, criticized New Delhi for being indifferent to aspirations of the Kashmiris. “For more than 100 days, in which Indian security officers have killed more than 100 Kashmiri civilians, the Indian government has seemed paralyzed, or even indifferent, as this disputed Himalayan region has plunged into one of the gravest crises of its tortured history,” The New York Times observed in a front-paged dispatch from Srinagar.
The OIC panel met a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon led expression of international concern over the deteriorating situation in the occupied valley, which remains under a state of relentless curfews.
The use of force by Indian security personnel against stone-pelting young protestors has again pushed the disputed Himalayan region into a state of turmoil, as has been the case on several occasions over the last six decades. The UN Chief, in his statement, had called for immediate end to violence and urged calm and restraint.
At the meeting held at the UN Headquarters, the OIC Secretary General and other members expressed their continued backing for efforts towards a just settlement of the UN-recognized dispute.
“I have followed with concern the situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir and consistently expressed my disappointment at the use of force and violence against the Kashmiri people by the Indian forces,” Secretary General of the 57-member body Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said.
“I have also repeatedly stated that a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute would serve not only th people of India and Pakistan but also the overall interests of the region,” he added.
The delegates urged India to “respect the will and rights of the people in order to help improve the security situation in the region.”
The foreign ministers of OIC countries will hold a full ministerial meeting in the next few days, where they are slated to adopt a document on all issues concerning the Islamic world.
The recent spate of violence in Kashmir has also belied New Delhi’s propaganda that Pakistan has always been behind the crisis in the valley, as duly noted by the New York Times.
“India often views Kashmir through its rivalry with Pakistan, with both countries controlling portions of the region and each claiming its entirety.Yet Indian officials concede that this latest unrest is different, a domestic Kashmiri revolt against Indian rule, unlike past insurgencies sponsored by Pakistan,” the Srinagar-datelined report said.
In his remarks, Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed appreciation for the OIC’s strong and consistent support to the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for the right to self-determination. He focused on the peaceful and non-violent struggle of the Kashmiri people and underlined Pakistan’s diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmir cause. Speaking on the occasion, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan dwelt on the sacrifices rendered by the Kashmiri people.
He urged India to reciprocate Pakistan’s sincere efforts to resolve the Kashmir issue. Speaking at at the meeting Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, a Washington-based Kashmiri scholar, thanked Pakistani foreign minister Qureshi for coming out with a forceful voice for the Kashmiris’ rights. He said the Kashmiri leaders including veteran politician Syed Ali Geelani have also conveyed their thanks to the top Pakistani diplomat, who, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations Committee, said Islamabad wants a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
Qureshi had also made it clear that occupation of the territory cannot endure.Fai, representing the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People, gave an update on the ongoing situation in Indian occupied Kashmir. He stressed that the Kashmiri leadership including Syed Ali Gilani, Mir Waiz Omar Farooq and Yasin Malik remain under house arrest in Indian occupied Kashmir.
As a result, Mir Waiz Omar Faooq could not come to New York to attend today’s meeting of the Contact Group. He emphasized that need for continued support of the international community to the peaceful and unarmed struggle of the Kashmiri people. Later, the True Representative presented a Memorandum on Kashmir to the OIC Secretary General.