Statement by Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Honourable Foreign Ministers,
Excellency Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen,
Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,
President AJK Masood Khan,
All Distinguished Participants,
Let me begin by expressing profound gratitude to the Secretary General for convening this important meeting. I would also like to thank distinguished Ministers and delegates from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Niger for their gracious presence.
This virtual interaction will help us take stock of the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and formulate a way forward.
This Contact Group had held its last meeting in New York on 25 September 2019. Since then, the situation has further aggravated. It is marked by gross and systemic violations of human rights, and an escalating threat to regional peace and security.
The current Indian leadership remains bent upon perpetuating India’s illegal occupation of Jammu & Kashmir. The “Hindutva” agenda of the RSS-BJP combine is deliberately targeting defenseless Kashmiris with unspeakable violence to break their will.
Brute force is being used to crush the Kashmiris’ quest for their fundamental rights — especially the right to self-determination enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council and OIC Resolutions.
For the last 10 months, the Kashmiri people have endured untold suffering from continuous lockdown, military siege, communications blockade, and unprecedented restrictions. These measures were imposed following India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019.
The Indian occupation forces have since violated even basic human right of the Kashmiri people and employed every tool of oppression to further consolidate their stranglehold.
To prevent the world from knowing the Kashmir reality, the occupation forces are suppressing, intimidating and incarcerating Kashmiri male and female journalists.
Pakistan has been consistently sensitizing OIC and the international community about the real Indian intention behind its actions, which is to change the demographic structure of IOJ&K and further disempower and disenfranchise the Kashmiris.
The latest steps in this direction are the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of State Law) Order 2020 and the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020.
Pakistan has repeatedly underlined that the measures to alter IOJ&K’s demographic structure are illegal and in violation of the UNSC Resolutions and international law, in particular the 4th Geneva Convention and UNSC resolution 122.
It is highly reprehensible that while the world community is grappling with COVID-19 pandemic, India remains busy intensifying its brutalization of the Kashmiri people.
The inhuman restrictions imposed on them have exacerbated the coronavirus challenges, with access to medical and other supplies severely hampered.
The RSS-inspired BJP government has refused to respond to the appeals of the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to release political and other prisoners at risk in crowded jails. Senior Hurriyet leaders remain incarcerated, with Syed Ali Shah Geelani under house arrest for more than 10 years.
Indian occupation forces are operating with complete impunity under the cover of draconian laws such as PSA, AFSPA and UAPA. There are repeated instances of extra-judicial killings in fake “encounters”; “cordon-and-search” operations; and indiscriminate use of pellet guns and live ammunition against unarmed peaceful protestors.
In the last 20 days, 30 young Kashmiris have been martyred.
In another inhuman practice, Indian occupation forces are refusing to return the mortal remains of martyred Kashmiris to their families for burials.
At the same time, severe collective punishment in the form of torching of houses is being inflicted on entire Kashmiri communities and neighbourhoods. India’s actions represent state-terrorism at its worst.
Not unexpectedly, India is seeking to cover up the reality of the popular and indigenous struggle of the Kashmiri people, by terming it as “terrorism” and also by blaming Pakistan, raising the familiar bogey of cross-LoC “infiltration.”
This is a complete travesty that could not have been further from the truth.
As part of this cover up, India has further intensified its violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary (WB).
Since 1 January 2020, India has committed 1440 ceasefire violations in breach of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding. India has deliberately targeted innocent civilians on the Pakistani side of the LoC, killing 13, and injuring 104,including women and children.
There is a possibility that in order to divert world’s attention from its state-terrorism and unacceptable actions in IOJ&K, India may resort to “false flag” operation and undertake some other misadventure which could imperil regional peace and security.
Despite Indian military and political leaders’ belligerent rhetoric and aggressive actions on the ground, Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint.
Pakistan does not want another conflict. However, it has the will and capacity to respond forcefully and effectively, and defend itself resolutely against any act of aggression.
As their valiant struggle in the past amply testifies, the Kashmiri people will never accept the sinister “Hindutva” agenda of dispossessing them of their land, marginalizing them politically and economically, and depriving them of their distinct identity.
I have personally briefed the UN Secretary General, President of UNSC, OIC Secretary General and my counterparts from around the world on the plight of Kashmiris and the worsening conditions in the occupied territory.
The UN Secretary General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Parliaments, human rights and civil society organizations have voiced their serious concerns.
The international media, too, has broken its long silence, since the situation is so grave and the violation of Kashmiri rights so egregious.
The Jammu and Kashmir dispute, just like Palestine, continues to be the longest standing item on the UN and OIC agenda.
The occupying powers in both Kashmir and Palestine are pursuing similar tactics to disenfranchise and dispossess these peoples. Both these situations are worsening and call for urgent attention of the international community.
Pakistan greatly appreciates the OIC’s continued and unequivocal support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
This Organization has been at the forefront of efforts to support the just and legitimate struggle of the people of IOJ&K for their inalienable right to self-determination, as reflected by the decisions and resolutions of the Islamic Summits and Council of Foreign Minister sessions, and the statements issued by the General Secretariat and IPHRC.
The OIC’s Contact Group has done valuable work in galvanizing world attention to the worsening situation in IOJ&K. The recent visit of the Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir was another manifestation of the OIC’s solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
In view of the grave situation, it is imperative that the OIC steps up its efforts to facilitate a lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The oppressed people of IOJ&K, now more than ever, count on OIC and the Muslim Ummah.
The OIC must urge India to: rescind its unilateral and illegal actions since 5 August 2019; implement the relevant UNSC resolutions to hold a UN-supervised plebiscite in IOJ&K; halt its blatant human rights violations and provide unhindered access to OIC, IPHRC, UN, human rights organizations and international media to investigate and report on the situation in the occupied territory.
I also request Your Excellencies’ active support in raising the issue at various international fora, including the UN and Human Rights Council (HRC) through the OIC platform.
To express our unequivocal solidarity with the beleaguered people of IOJ&K, a Communiqué has been prepared. I hope it would be unanimously endorsed.
Before concluding my remarks, I once again thank you, on behalf of the Government and people of Pakistan, for your participation and invaluable contributions.
I thank you.