Kashmir Issue close to our hearts, linking it with terrorism violation of international law: OIC

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday said the Jammu and Kashmir issue “is close to our hearts” and “linking it with terrorism is a violation of international law”.

“The Jammu and Kashmir crises is close to our hearts and is one of the most important issues on the agenda of the organization of Islamic Cooperation, and therefore our commitment to the Jammu and Kashmir cause has been and will remain firm,” said OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen.

He said Kashmir movement is a “legitimate struggle” of the people for the realization of their rights and independence and fully in conformity with the resolution of the United Nations and international law.

“Attempts to suppress or degrade it by linking it to terrorism are, therefore, futile and in violation of United Nations resolutions and International law,” he said during his speech to the Ministerial Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of the 14th Islamic Summit in the holy city of Mecca.

Batting for a dialogue to resolve the issue, the OIC Secretary General said: “I hope that a genuine dialogue between Pakistan and India will resume, which will be the best framework for addressing all outstanding issues, particularly the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said.

Calling Kashmir as an important agenda of the OIC, Dr Yousef also asked India to “cease” using force against unarmed Kashmiri people.

“The OIC General Secretariat has continued to highlight in all its engagements in the international forums that it is necessary to ensure that India ceases to use force against innocent and defenseless civilians in Kashmir and stop its disregard for human rights laws,” he said.

The General Secretary said that OIC will continue to work towards a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict.

“The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission will also continue to monitor serious violations of human rights in Kashmir and will continue to raise it with other international human rights bodies.”

He said that they are following with deep concern the bloody events against the security of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir, the developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the conditions of the Rohingya, the Muslim peoples in Turkish Cyprus, Bosnia and Kosovo and the situation of Muslim societies in the rest of the world.

India has in the past asked the OIC not to make references to Kashmir, saying it was an internal matter.

Meanwhile, Turkey is “deeply” concerned with the security and humanitarian situation in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said on May 29.

“Turkey sincerely desires that Kashmir issue is resolved through peaceful means between India and Pakistan based on relevant UN resolutions in line with aspirations of the people of Kashmir,” Çavuşoğlu tweeted.

His remarks came after a Jeddah meeting of Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in Saudi Arabia, where he will hand over Turkey’s presidency of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to Saudi Arabia.

Turkey assumed the OIC term presidency in 2016.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.