Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani backs Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani has expressed concern over the recent killings of civilians in Indian-held Kashmir by Indian security forces.
In remarks made at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz in the Pakistani capital Islamabad Saturday, Madani reiterated his organization’s support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to self-determination.
Aziz had apprised the OIC official of the “grave humanitarian situation” in Indian-held valley, where large-scale violations of human rights were reportedly being carried out by Indian forces.
“The reason for my visit to Pakistan is the current situation in Kashmir,” Madani said.
He appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to finding a “peaceful resolution” of the Kashmir dispute.
While pro-independence demonstrations, protests and strikes continue in the disputed region, the Indian government appears to be responding with more force.
On Thursday, the Indian government added a ban on movement during nighttime hours to an ongoing 41-day curfew in Indian-held Kashmir. The civilian death toll over a six-week period reached 66 on Thursday.
Since July 8, when the present uprising was triggered by the killing of a Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani by Indian forces, over 6,000 people have been hospitalized, according to government figures. One policeman has also been killed in the protests.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far, most of them in Indian Armed force’s counter insurgency operations. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.
Earlier, the OIC official also briefed Aziz on the organization’s peace efforts in Afghanistan.
By Aamir Latif