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November 27, 2020

Kashmir a permanent item on OIC agenda: FO

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November 27, 2020

Kashmir a permanent item on OIC agenda: FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said India was indulging in a false propaganda and disinformation campaign, and that Jammu and Kashmir was a permanent feature on the agenda of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman, Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, said this in response to reports that the OIC agenda available online made no specific mention of Kashmir among all other issues pointed out which were to be raised.

“Kashmir dispute remains a permanent item on the OIC’s agenda and the Organisation has been unambiguously pronouncing itself on the issue for decades, through a succession of summits as well as CFM resolution,” said the spokesman.

In the aftermath of India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 05, 2019, the OIC has been actively seized of the matter, he pointed out, and in a series of pronouncements, issued from time to time, the OIC General Secretariat has called for settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir has also met thrice in past 15 months, while the contact group last met at the level of foreign ministers in June this year.

“The Final Communiqué of that meeting called upon India to rescind its illegal actions and stop egregious human rights violations in the illegally occupied territory and the CFM session in Niger forms the first such meeting after India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 05, 2019,” said the spokesman.

It is expected that the session would reiterate its strong support to the Kashmir cause. “Let me confirm that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute continue to be amongst the longest standing items on the OIC agenda,” he said.

To a query regarding reports that the UAE was no longer issuing visit and work visas to Pakistanis, the spokesman said that reports of suspension of visas and its purported causes have not been confirmed by the UAE.

“We are in contact with the UAE authorities in this regard and do not agree with the media reports that characterise the attitude of UAE authorities towards Pakistan as “hostile”. Millions of Pakistanis work and reside peacefully in the UAE with the approval of the UAE authorities. Isolated events should not be used to cast aspersions over the nature of Pakistan’s long standing fraternal ties with the UAE,” he cautioned.

Pakistan has taken up with Saudi Arabia an issue about an image on its new 20 riyal note which shows Jammu and Kashmir as an entirely separate space. “The depiction was clearly inconsistent with Pakistan’s position, and we have already taken up the matter with Saudi Arabia through diplomatic channels,” responded the spokesman.

According to the state-run radio, the Foreign Office spokesman reiterated that there is no change in Pakistan`s principled position on Palestine issue. He said the prime minister has made it clear that unless a just settlement of the Palestine issue, satisfactory to the Palestinian people, is found, Pakistan cannot recognise Israel.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of Organisation Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen while appreciating Pakistan’s role as a founding and active member of the OIC, reaffirmed its steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, said the Foreign Office.

The OIC secretary general was speaking to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a meeting that took place within the run up to the 47th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niger.

In this regard, the secretary general noted that his special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir visited Pakistan and AJK earlier this year, and that the special envoy’s report would be submitted to the CFM.

The OIC secretary general’s special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir Ambassador Yousef Al-Dodeay, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the OIC and other senior officials were also present.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed appreciation at the OIC’s consistent and historic support for the Kashmir cause and also apprised the secretary general about the initiative by Pakistan for adoption of a resolution on Islamophobia by the 47th CFM.

The exchange of views covered wide range of issues confronting the Muslim Ummah, including rising Islamophobia, the situation in IOJ&K and Palestine, and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The foreign minister emphasised that Pakistan, as a founding member of the OIC, attaches utmost importance to the Organisation as the sole and most prominent voice of the Muslim Ummah.

“The foreign minister conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern at the aggravating human rights and humanitarian situation in IOJ&K, and India’s moves to alter the demographic structure of the occupied territory, in clear violation of UN resolutions and international law including the 4th Geneva Convention.

The secretary general also shared his perspective on the issue of Islamophobia and apprised that the latest report of OIC’s Islamophobia Observatory was also due to be released at the CFM.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has joined the Digital Cooperation Organisation (DCO) as a founding member. Established under an initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, other countries that have been invited to join as founding members include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE.