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Kashmir ‘Permanent Item’ on OIC Agenda: Foreign Office

by Newsweek Pakistan
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri

Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. Courtesy Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Muslim bloc’s secretary general affirms its ‘steadfast’ support of Kashmir cause during meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi

Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday rejected Indian “false propaganda and disinformation,” and stressed that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was a permanent feature on the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC)’s agenda.

In a weekly press briefing, spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri claimed the absence of the Kashmir issue on the OIC’s agenda did not have any relevance. “[The] Kashmir dispute remains a permanent item on the OIC’s agenda and the organization has been unambiguously pronouncing itself on the issue for decades, through a succession of summits as well as CFM [Conference of Foreign Ministers] resolution,” he said.

He reiterated the times the OIC had addressed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, noting that there has been multiple statements on New Delhi’s “illegal and unilateral” abrogation of the region’s special constitutional status on Aug. 5, 2019. He said the OIC General Secretariat had, on multiple occasions, urged for a settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Chaudhri said the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir had met thrice in the past 15 months, adding its last meeting was held in June. “The final communiqué of that meeting called upon India to rescind its illegal actions and stop egregious human rights violations in the illegally occupied territory and the CFM session in Niger forms the first such meeting after India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug. 5, 2019,” he said, adding that he was “confident” that the ongoing meeting would also reiterate its support to the Kashmir cause.

“Let me confirm that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute continues to be amongst the longest standing items on the OIC agenda,” he added.

To a question, the spokesman claimed that reports of the U.A.E. deciding to suspend issuing visas to 13 states, including Pakistan, were still “unconfirmed.” He also claimed that this was not linked to security concerns, as has been alleged by the Reuters news agency.

OIC meeting

In Niamey, Niger, OIC Secretary General Yousef al-Othaimeen appreciated Pakistan’s role as a founding and active member of the Muslim bloc during a meeting with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, al-Othaimeen reaffirmed the OIC’s steadfast support for Jammu and Kashmir, adding that a report compiled by his special envoy—who visited Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir earlier this year—on the situation would be presented to the Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Qureshi appreciated the OIC’s consistent and historic support for Kashmir and updated the secretary-general on Pakistan’s desire for the OIC to adopt a resolution against Islamophobia.

“The foreign minister conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern at the aggravating human rights and humanitarian situation in India-held Kashmir, and India’s moves to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation of U.N. resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” the Foreign Office statement added.

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