The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has expressed “deep concern" over the recent developments in the Indian-administered Kashmir, mainly the revocation of special status to the disputed Himalayan valley by New Delhi.
In a statement at an emergency meeting of the organization's Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in Jeddah on Tuesday, the OIC Secretary General, Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, reaffirmed the OIC’s full support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle to achieve their legitimate rights, in particular the right to self-determination.
The statement was read by Ambassador Samir Bakr Diab, Assistant Secretary General, who chaired the meeting while representing the OIC Secretary General, said a statement from Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.
The Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir was formed in 1994 to coordinate policy of the OIC on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are its members.
Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who led the Pakistan delegation, apprised the participants of the "Indian attempt to strengthen its illegitimate occupation of IOK [Indian Occupied Kashmir]", the statement added.
"Other members of the Contact Group also made statements condemning the illegal Indian actions and expressing deep concern over the developments while reiterating their continued support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir", it said and added ''They called for a peaceful resolution of the dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the aspirations of the Kashmiri people".
The Contact Group reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute, pending on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.
The Contact Group urged India again to allow access to the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) and other international rights bodies on the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir in order to independently verify the gross and blatant human rights violations, the statement said.
Since 1947, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special provisions to enact its own laws. The provision also protected its citizenship law that disallowed outsiders to settle and own land in the territory.
The Himalayan region is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
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./aa