OIC group on J&K condemns India’s move to bifurcate state: Pak FO

OIC group on J&K condemns India's move to bifurcate state: Pak FO

ISLAMABAD: The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday condemned India’s decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories, according to the Pakistan Foreign Office.

The Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement that an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was held on August 6 in the wake of “illegal” actions by India to alter the internationally recognised disputed status of Indian Kashmir, it said.

The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir was formed in 1994 to coordinate policy of the OIC on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are its members.

The meeting was chaired by ambassador Samir Bakr Diab, Assistant Secretary-General, who represented the OIC Secretary-General and attended by Pakistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

“The Contact Group condemned India’s recent illegal and unilateral steps, aimed at undermining the demographics and the disputed nature of the Jammu and Kashmir in contravention of the relevant UN resolutions, which seriously imperil regional peace and security,” the foreign office said.

It said the Contact Group reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognised dispute, pending on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

The meeting emphasised that durable peace in South Asia rests with a just and final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with the UN Security Council Resolutions.

Ambassador Diab read the statement of the OIC Secretary General expressing “deep concern” over the recent developments in Kashmir, including the measures taken by the Indian authorities that might affect the “status of the territory and the rights of the Kashmiri people”, the FO said.

He reaffirmed the OIC’s full support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate rights, it said.

Qureshi, who led the Pakistan delegation, said the Indian steps were a “grave, destabilising threat” to the already volatile situation in South Asia and would have serious implications.

The Foreign Minister reiterated that no unilateral actions by India could change the disputed nature of Jammu & Kashmir.

He reiterated that Pakistan will continue to extend political, diplomatic and moral support to the indigenous struggle of the Kashmiri people for the realisation of their right to self-determination.

The Contact Group urged India to allow access to the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) and other international rights bodies in Jammu and Kashmir to independently verify the human rights violations.

The OIC is a grouping of 57 countries, the majority of which are Muslim-dominated. It has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of OIC in March. She was the first Indian minister to address the OIC meeting.

India’s participation came despite strong demand by Pakistan to rescind the invitation to Swaraj to address the grouping which was turned down by the host the UAE, resulting in Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi boycotting the plenary.

In reaction to a resolution on Jammu and Kashmir by the OIC in its two-day foreign ministers’ conclave in Abu Dhabi., India had said the state was an integral part of India and the issue was strictly internal to the country.

“As regards the resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, our stand is consistent and well known. We reaffirm that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India,” Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar had said. PTI

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