OIC chief urges India to respect Kashmiris self-determination


Dakar, Senegal : OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu reiterated the 57-member group’s complete and unflinching support to what he described as the just cause of Kashmir.

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Speaking at a meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in the Senegalese capital late on Friday, Ihsanoglu requested member states, especially those with good relations with India, to use their influence to improve the condition of Kashmiris in Indian-administered Kashmir.

“The question of Jammu and Kashmir has been one of the oldest unresolved issues on the agenda of the OIC,” he said.

The meeting was co-chaired by Ihsanoglu and Pakistan Foreign Minister Inam-ul Haque.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nizar Obaid Madani, and representatives of Niger and Senegal also attended the meeting.

The Kashmiri delegation was led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, and included representatives from both Pakistani Kashmir and Indian Kashmir.

The Pakistani foreign minister briefed the meeting about his country’s efforts to conduct a meaningful, constructive and result-oriented dialogue with India to resolve the dispute.

Haque emphasized that a final settlement must be acceptable to all three parties – Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people.

The Turkish foreign minister said the issue should be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the three parties.

He reiterated strong support for the Kashmiri people in their struggle to achieve their right to self-determination.

Babacan appreciated Pakistan’s constructive approach in the peace process with India.

The Saudi minister of state expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri people’s struggle and stressed the need to resolve the long-standing dispute expeditiously.

He also voiced support for the ongoing peace process between Pakistan and India.

Mirwaiz Farooq urged OIC member states to impress on India the need to end violations of rights committed against the Kashmiri people by the Indian Army.

The meeting reaffirmed the longstanding position of the OIC in support of the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination, the protection of their human rights and settlement of the dispute in accordance with relevant OIC and UN Security Council resolutions.

Farooq said: “We, as Muslims, believe that terrorism is against the spirit and the belief system of Muslims. We must condemn terrorism in all its shades and manifestations.” He said recent developments in Kosovo have provided encouragement to all Kashmiris.

“The right to freedom never gets extinguished. The recent declaration of independence by Kosovo is like a whiff of fresh air.

We welcome this new member nation and hope that entire international community in general and the OIC in particular will stand in solidarity with the people of Kosovo. The people of Kashmir stand encouraged by this historic development,” he added.

According to Farooq, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of international neglect, double standard and the self-interest of powerful states.

“Emergence of some voices across the globe pleading for international facilitation to solve the Kashmir dispute is encouraging,” he added.

He said Hurriyat would always welcome a peaceful resolution to the dispute.