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FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi to lead Pak team to attend CFM session of OIC in Niger tomorrow

By Mariana Baabar
November 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi will lead Pakistan’s delegation to the 47th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) being held in Niamey, Niger, on 27-28 November 2020.

This session has been long awaited by Pakistan, which had earlier called for an Emergency Session of the CFM, to take up the draconian decision of India, in which it revoked the special status, under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

However, despite several attempts and requests to Saudi Arabia, this Emergency Session could not be summoned. “During the visit, the foreign minister will highlight aggravating human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019 and subsequent measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory”, said the Foreign Office while announcing the visit.

Representatives of 57 OIC member states and five observer states are expected to attend the meeting. The CFM will also discuss a wide range of issues confronting the Muslim world with particular focus on combating Islamophobia and defamation of the religions; Palestine; Jammu & Kashmir dispute; situation of Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC states. Of importance will be discussion on Palestine as some members states of OIC have recently recognised Israel and others are reportedly also following. Pakistan at the highest level says it has no plans to recognise Israel and stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine in their quest for a homeland. In this regard Qureshi will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts/heads of delegations of member states on the sidelines of the session.

Other issues for discussion include OIC 2025 Programme of Action; and various matters related to promotion of civilisational, cultural and religious dialogue. “The Council will also hold a brainstorming session on “Security and Humanitarian Challenges Confronting African Sahel States Members of the OIC”, said the Foreign Office.

The foreign minister will also highlight rising incidents of Islamophobia and hate speech against Muslims and emphasize the need for unity of the Islamic world to combat the scourge of Islamophobia and promote inter-faith harmony. With 57 members and five observers, the OIC membership spans over four continents. The organization has completed 50 years of its existence.

Earlier, the foreign minister addressed another letter to the President of the United Nations Security Council and the Secretary General, updating them on the grave situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

“The letter by the foreign minister is part of Pakistan’s consistent efforts to keep the UN Security Council and the Secretary General regularly informed of the serious situation in IIOJK, and to demand resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people”, said the Spokesman at the Foreign Office.

The foreign minister’s letter highlights the gross and systematic violations of human rights taking place in IIOJK along with the threat posed to peace and security by India. It focuses, in particular, on the illegal demographic changes being undertaken in the occupied territory by India, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, the UN Charter and international law including the 4th Geneva Convention.

In the letter, the foreign minister has apprised the Security Council of India’s implementation of an elaborate strategy of military occupation, land confiscation, influx of non-Kashmiris, and creation of alien settlements in IIOJK. As a result of the Indian agenda to convert the Muslim majority of IIOJK into a minority, the indigenous Kashmiris are losing their political and cultural identity, their rightful demographic majority, and ownership of their properties in their own homeland.

The letter also underscores the indiscriminate and unprovoked ceasefire violations by India across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, including deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas. The over 2,700 ceasefire violations committed by India this year have resulted in the death of 25 innocent people and serious injuries to more than 200 civilians.

The foreign minister has called on the Security Council to exercise its direct responsibility to prevent India from perpetrating its criminal colonial project to change the demographic structure of the disputed territory and to secure the implementation of its own resolutions which recognise the Kashmiris’ legitimate right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.