No peace in region unless Kashmir issue resolved Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says it is ready to engage with India to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute but the onus is on India to create a conducive environment.

India should reverse its unilateral and illegal measures instituted since August 5, 2019, stop human rights violations in IIOJ&K and halt and reverse demographic changes there. This was stated in an informal meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of the 76th UNGA session at the United Nations Headquarters on Thursday.

It took an added significance, as it was held when Indian Prime Minister Modi was heading a delegation in Washington. A Joint Communique of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was also released. The most recent example of Indian barbarity was the treatment of mortal remains of the great Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who passed away on September 1 after prolonged illegal Indian detention and house arrest.

Pakistan will be hosting the Council of Foreign Ministers Session of the OIC in Islamabad next year dates for which are being formalized, as the OIC’s Contact Group has made invaluable contribution to galvanizing global attention to the worsening situation in IIOJ&K.

Pakistan also circulated the 131-page dossier covering accounts of 3,432 cases of war crimes perpetrated by senior officers of the Indian occupying forces.

The crimes catalogued in the dossier are corroborated by audio and video evidence that we have meticulously gathered over time. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while speaking at the meeting pointed out that in view of the grave situation, it was imperative that the OIC enhanced its efforts to facilitate a lasting solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“The oppressed people of Kashmir, now more than ever, count on OIC and the Muslim Ummah. I also request your excellencies’ active support in raising the issue at relevant UN foras, including the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council”, he said at a time when a day earlier Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan while addressing the UNGA made a strong case for Kashmir saying it had to be resolved through the UN Resolutions.

Paying tribute to Syed Ali Geelani, Qureshi said he was incarcerated for 50 years but never wavered from his demand for Kashmir’s freedom, and despite his advancing age and failing health, he was not allowed to seek medical treatment abroad.

“Even as his family mourned his loss, and prepared for his funeral, a heavy contingent of India’s occupation forces entered their home, and over the protests of family members, forcibly snatched Syed Geelani’s body, denied him the last rites of a Muslim funeral and buried him in a non-descript place rather than the ‘Cemetery of Martyrs’ as desired by Syed Geelani before his death”, said the foreign minister.

If that was not enough, he added, Geelani’s family members were later charged with draping his body in the Pakistani flag, as he had wished. “The Government of India was so afraid of Syed Geelani and what he stood for that they resorted to this inhumane act even after his passing away. This clearly shows that India would trample all civil and human values to perpetuate its brutal occupation of IIOJ&K”, said Qureshi at the same venue where the late Pandit Nehru had moved the issue of Kashmir at the UN.

Warning that there will be no peace in South Asia until the just and equitable resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council and wishes of the Kashmiri people, the foreign minister recalled that last February, Pakistan accepted revival of the 2003 ceasefire understanding along the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, later the spokesman at the Foreign Office made the first official comments on the formation of AUKUS. “As for Pakistan, in principle we do not subscribe to bloc politics. Rather, we support broader, inclusive multilateral cooperation, based on open and transparent principles. Peace and stability are best ensured through cooperative frameworks, and not by arrangements that can be perceived as directed against some other country, or countries, or a tool to expand some countries’ self-interest”, he said.

Nuclearization, he added, is a shared concern of many countries. There are various angles and perspectives through which AUKUS is being gauged, and many countries, including friends and allies of these countries are looking at it with different degree of concern.

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