By Sardar Khan Niazi
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has rightly said that there can be no durable peace in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is resolved based on justice and international legitimacy.
He was addressing a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The Contact Group comprises Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Türkiye. OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha chaired the meeting with the participation of Ministers and high-level representatives from members of the Contact Group.
The meeting reviewed the political and security environment and the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Participating Foreign Ministers emphasized the importance of the Jammu and Kashmir issue on the agenda of the OIC and expressed support for the Kashmiri people and their fundamental rights.
The Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved primarily due to India’s refusal to implement the resolutions of the UN Security Council (UNSC). Kashmir is one of the longstanding issues on the agendas of the United Nations and its most effective arm UN Security Council over the past seven decades.
The Kashmir issue was brought initially to the UN by the Indian government in early 1948, while Indian leadership accepted the multiple resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council for the resolution of the issue.
Initially, the Indian government took some steps in this direction by introducing Article 370 and Section 35 in the Indian Constitution to avert global pressure and buy some time. However, the successive Indian governments did not uphold their commitments made to the global community and the Kashmiri people.
Indian forces have intensified atrocities, and human rights violations, while Indian security agencies have ramped up extra-judicial killings of freedom activists to curb the ever-rising Kashmir Freedom Movement.
While Pakistani leaders have expressed willingness for a constructive engagement with India and asked New Delhi to create a conducive environment for a positive dialogue but India is unwilling.
Meanwhile, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir reaffirmed its support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.
Besides, it rejected the illegal and unilateral actions taken by India on August 5, 2019, and subsequent steps to change the internationally recognized disputed status of the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
One cannot forget the statement issued by the UN Secretary-General on August 8, 2019, which affirmed that the position of ‘the United Nations on the Jammu & Kashmir region is governed by the UN Charter and applicable UN Security Council Resolutions.
Condemning the Indian action to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory it also asked to stop the issuance of fake domicile certificates to non-Kashmiris granting them voting rights, and amendments to land ownership laws.
Furthermore, it termed these actions in contravention of the existing UNSC resolutions and in violation of international humanitarian law including the 4th Geneva Convention.
The Contact Group members condemned as well the continued detention of the entire Hurriyat leadership, the true representatives of Kashmiri political aspirations, with most having been subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment at the hands of Indian occupation forces.
Moreover, it denounced the sham trial and conviction of Yasin Malik on concocted charges, which is the most recent example of India’s attempts to punish Kashmiri leaders seeking freedom even by peaceful means.
To end with, the Contact Group also denounced India’s continued refusal to allow the OIC Special Envoy, the OIC- Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, the UN Special Mandate Holders, and international civil society organizations to visit IIOJK.