Kashmiris want peace, not war: Masood Khan at OIC moot

President AJK addresses OIC meeting, presents 9-point formula

Jeddah (News Desk): Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, addressed the well-attended meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir here at the OIC Headquarters. The President also presented his 9-point formula for the consideration of the OIC to help bring peace to the region and also to move forward towards resolving the long-standing Kashmir dispute. The meeting chaired by OIC Secretary General H.E. Dr. Yusuf A. Al-Othaimeen and was attended by the Foreign Ministers of member nations. The OIC Contact Group on Kashmir has been convened in the run-up to the 14th OIC Islamic Summit scheduled to meet in Makkah Al-Mukarramah. This will be the first meeting of the Islamic Summit after Indian aggression against Pakistan on February 26, this year. Heads of 57 Islamic countries from four continents will attend the Islamic Summit in which pertinent issues of interest to the Muslim Ummah will be top on the agenda. Other developments in the Arab, African and Asian regions, issues related to culture, economy, scientific research, peace and other matters of concern to the OIC member states will equally be discussed. The President in his opening remarks expressed his gratitude to the OIC Secretary General and the member nations for their steadfast support to the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people and also for continuously insisting upon India to end its reign of oppression in Indian Occupied Kashmir that has claimed over 100,000 lives since 1989 of which more than a 1000 Kashmiris have been killed after July 2016. President AJK apprised the participants of the rapidly deteriorating situation in IOK, as Indian forces have intensified killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, custodial killings, fake encounters, torture, rape and blindings. “They (Indian occupation forces) have adopted a scorched earth policy and are destroying houses, businesses, orchards and crops”, he said. Citing the recent reports of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), the President highlighted that torture and abuse in prisons in IOK are a rampant practice, where – mostly civilian – prisoners are subjected to water-boarding, dunking detainees’ heads in water, hangings, electrocution, burning bodies with iron rods, and sexual humiliation and torture including rape. The President impressed upon the participants that the Pulwama incident itself signalled Kashmiris’ total estrangement and its severance from India. In the recent elections, he said, the ruling party and its extremist affiliates continued to incite hatred against Kashmiris, flaunting and brandishing their atrocities in IOK as a vote-catching ploy. He also informed that illegal demographic transformation in IOK and the repeal of the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution is high up on the agenda of the ruling Indian party. He said this is a violation of Rule 130 of the International Humanitarian Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I and rescinding the Kashmiris’ exclusive rights to permanent residence, employment, acquisition of property and educational scholarships constitutes a war crime. Today, he said the total number of Indian troops in IOK has swelled to 780,000 of which 80,000 were deployed after the Pulwama attack, bringing Jammu and Kashmir’s ratio of armed forces to a staggering one soldier for 12 Kashmiri civilians – making it the most militarized of any occupied territory in the world. These marauding troops armed with pellet-firing shotguns, he said, have blinded or seriously injured 6,000 Kashmiris; bequeathing on India the odious sobriquet of being the ‘biggest mass blinder in the history of warfare’. President Khan also brought to the attention of the dignitaries the reports published by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the British Parliament’s All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG), which provided irrefutable evidence of India’s excessive use of force, killings, rape, and use of pellet guns to blind people, with impunity. The High Commissioner, he said, recommended to the Human Rights Council to form a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the appalling and hideous rights violations in IOK and repeal of the two draconian laws – the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act. Similarly, last February, a sub-committee of the European Parliament, after a hearing on the rights’ abuses in IOK, called for a solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he informed. The President appealed to the OIC and to the international community to not just make efforts to defuse tensions in South Asia but to help find a solution of the core dispute that has plunged the region into chronic strife and antagonism. The Indian aggression against Pakistan on February 26 this year demonstrated that if the Kashmir dispute was not resolved, the security of our shared regions would remain fraught with the perils of war and nuclear escalation. Kashmiris, said the AJK President, want peace, not war; they do not want Kashmir to be a nuclear flashpoint, but a symbol of amity and connectivity. Despite all odds, the people of Kashmir remain resolute in their faith to win liberty from the tyrannical reign and continue to look towards the OIC with hope. President Masood Khan on the occasion also put forward the following nine (09) point formula for the peace and security in the region and urged the OIC to: 1. Ask India to recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that has the protection of international law. In this context, India should cooperate with the UN, Pakistan and Kashmiris to implement the UN Security resolutions which through a plebiscite will ascertain the aspirations of the Kashmiri people. 2. Press India to end its abhorrent human rights violations and crimes against humanity in IOK, and revert to dialogue and diplomacy on Kashmir instead of using coercive power. 3. Ask India to withdraw its troops from IOK. 4. Ask India to release Hurriyat leaders – Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah and Assiya Indrabi – from Tihar jail – as well as free Syed Ali Gilani, Mir Waiz Umar Farooq and other political prisoners. 5. Help the parties to the Kashmir dispute to reactivate a multilateral diplomatic process for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, including resort to negotiations, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and other peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter. 6. Urge the UN Secretary General to intercede to play his role to resolve the Kashmir dispute and appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir. 7. Urge OIC members in the Human Rights Council to take an initiative for the formation of a Commission of Inquiry on IOK. 8. Ask India to allow OIC’s Human Rights Commission and its Special Envoy on Kashmir to visit IOK. 9. Implement the recommendations of the OIC’s own Human Rights Commission for (a) initiating development projects in the livelihood, health and education sectors in IOK and refugees’ camps in AJK, with the help of the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund; and (b) using the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement against India to pressurize it to meet its human rights obligations.

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