Muslim Bloc Reaffirms ‘Unequivocal’ Support for Kashmir

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Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev

The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, asks India to refrain from altering the demographic structure of India-administered Kashmir that India unilaterally annexed last August, the Pakistani foreign office says.

The OIC is the world’s second-largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN, with 57 member states spread across four continents.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has reiterated its “strong and unequivocal support” for disputed Kashmir in a resolution adopted unanimously in the Muslim bloc’s gathering in Niger, Pakistan said.

Representatives of 57-member states attended the two-day meeting during late Novemeber which OIC discussed issues confronting the Muslim world. 

The situation in India-administered Kashmir was one of the session’s main points of focus with OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers reaffirming strong support for Kashmiris struggling for the region’s right to self-determination. 

“The OIC categorically rejected illegal and unilateral actions taken by India since 5 August 2019,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement, adding the resolution demanded that India “cancel the issuance of domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris” as well as other unilateral and illegal actions there.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi represented Pakistan at the 47th session of the OIC in Niamey.

Established in 1969, the OIC is the world’s second-largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN, with 57 member states spread across four continents. 

Pakistan is one of its founding members.

The OIC has previously condemned human rights violations in Kashmir, its annexation by India, and the newly-introduced domicile laws that allow non-Kashmiris to take jobs and buy properties in the disputed Himalayan territory. 

But it has never deterred India from carrying out its actions in the region.    

India maintains the group has no locus standi on Kashmir and often rejects its statements.

Oldest dispute on UN agenda

Kashmir, divided by a highly militarised de facto border, is claimed by both Pakistan and India who rule it in parts. In 1947, both countries gained independence from Britain. India immediately took the dispute to the UN which called for a plebiscite in the region in multiple resolutions. 

Rebel groups in India-administered Kashmir have fought for decades for the region’s independence or a possible merger with Pakistan. They enjoy popular support.

Since 1989, the fighting has left tens of thousands dead, a number mostly made up of civilians. India has stationed more than 500,000 troops in the region.

Tensions soared again between the two nations last August when the Indian government revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir’s decades-old semi-autonomous status and annexed it. This caused anger inside Kashmir as well as in Pakistan.

The OIC and Pakistan want the changes reversed. Kashmiris say India is enacting a demographic change in the region by settling Hindu outsiders. 

OIC asks countries to evaluate ties with India

In Saturday’s resolution, the OIC urged the international community to evaluate their ties with India and include the people of Kashmir in any peace process talks.

OIC emphasised that the territorial dispute, specifically “granting the right to self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir” has remained unresolved on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council for over seven decades.

Other items on the OIC agenda included the Palestinian cause, Islamophobia, the plight of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states, and fundraising for the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice.

The member states also decided to hold further talks on the Kashmir dispute in OIC’s foreign minister’s session in Islamabad next year.

TRTWorld