In meeting with OIC envoy, PM Imran calls for allowing global bodies and media access to IoK

Nov 8, 2021 | Kashmir Coverage (General News)

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday emphasised the urgent need for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), human rights organisations and international media to be allowed access to Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK), so that independent investigations could be carried out into human rights violations in the region.

He expressed these views during a meeting with OIC’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir Yousef Aldobeay — who is currently on a six-day visit to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, according to a tweet by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Aldobeay was accompanied by OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Tarig Bakhit. Senior members of the OIC delegation were also present on the occasion.

According to the PMO, the premier underlined the importance of the “OIC’s principled position on the […] Kashmir dispute and the resolute support of the Islamic ummah to the just struggle of Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination.”

He also highlighted the atrocities being committed by India in the occupied valley, which had “over 900,000 troops deployed in the occupied territory, making it the most militarised zone in the world”, the statement said.

The premier also told the OIC delegation that the ” illegal and unilateral” actions of India since August 5, 2019 — when India stripped the region of its special autonomy — were aimed at disenfranchising Kashmiris and altering the demographic structure of the valley in order to convert it into a Hindu-dominated territory.

“These illegal actions were in clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” the statement quoted Prime Imran as saying.

As the premier called for allowing international organisations and media access to the valley for reporting rights abuses, he also emphasised the need for the provision of humanitarian support and assistance to the people of the occupied valley.

“The prime minister strongly underscored the need for the [Muslim] world to forge greater unity against […] challenges posed by the extremist political ideologies stoking Islamophobia,” the statement said.

“He […] underlined the importance of [the] peaceful resolution of international conflicts and longstanding disputes, including [those of] Kashmir and Palestine,” it added.

The premier reiterated that a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of Kashmiri people, remained a prerequisite for durable peace and stability in South Asia, the statement concluded.

‘BJP’s exclusionist policies threaten regional peace’

Earlier, Aldobeay and other members of the OIC delegation met Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, in Islamabad, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office (FO).

Mahmood said on the occasion that the “exclusionist policies” pursued by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its fountainhead, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), reflected their ideological agenda of establishing a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation) in India, threatening regional peace and stability.

The secretary emphasised that the majoritarian outlook of the RSS and BJP to establish a Hindu nation “espoused suppressing all minority communities, especially Muslims”, the statement said.

Like Prime Minister Imran Khan, he also pointed out that since the Modi government’s “illegal and unilateral” actions of August 5, 2019, Kashmiris in the valley had been denied their fundamental rights and freedoms.

Moreover, Indian authorities had “detained the legitimate Kashmiri leadership and killed, maimed and summarily executed and tortured Kashmiris on a mass scale”, the statement quoted him as saying. “[And] the Covid-19 pandemic … turned the dire situation into a grave humanitarian crisis.”

The foreign secretary told the OIC envoy that subsequent steps by India, including the issuance of over 4.2 million Kashmiri domiciles to Indian citizens, were meant to disenfranchise Kashmiris and to turn the Muslim majority valley into a Hindu-dominated territory.

According to the FO statement, Mahmood recalled that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had issued separate reports on Kashmir in 2018 and 2019, and Pakistan had underlined that this reporting should continue.

He also handed over to the OIC envoy a copy of the dossier unveiled by the Pakistani government on September 12, 2021, highlighting human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir, the statement added.

Read:Why Kashmir matters

On the OIC’s role on the issue, the statement said, the foreign secretary underscored that Aldobeay’s visit to Pakistan reaffirmed the organisation’s “resolute support to the just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination”.

“As a collective voice of the Islamic Ummah, this steadfast and principled position [is] a source of strength to the people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” he told Aldobeay.

Commending the leading role of the OIC on the Kashmir dispute, the secretary noted that the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir had convened four ministerial meetings since the Indian actions of August 5, 2019.

He welcomed the “clear and unequivocal reaffirmation of the OIC’s principled stance on the … Kashmir dispute in the joint communique adopted by the ministerial meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in New York on September 23, 2021,” the FO’s statement said.

Thanking the foreign secretary for the detailed update on the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, Aldobeay said the “OIC’s abiding solidarity and support to the legitimate Kashmiri struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions”, according to the FO statement.

Earlier, while discussing the Kashmir situation with representatives of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Pakistan on Sunday, Aldobeay had assured that the OIC would continue to support the right to self-determination of the people of Kashmir.

The envoy said that he would prepare and present a report during the next ministerial meeting of the OIC on the situation in the region.

The OIC envoy is visiting Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir from November 7 to November 12 to “undertake a first-hand assessment of the human rights and humanitarian situation” in occupied Kashmir, the FO said.

This is the second visit of the envoy to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. Aldobeay earlier visited the region in March 2020.

Naveed Siddiqui | Dawn