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February 7, 2021

IOJ&K world’s largest open-air jail: Qureshi

Top Story

February 7, 2021

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday said the inhuman military siege and communication blockade had today turned Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) into the world’s largest open-air jail.

He said this in a video message to the Ambassadorial Meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir in New York.

The meeting comes when it was announced that the State of New York had declared February 5 as Kashmir-American Day — the same day when Pakistan celebrates it as Kashmir Day in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

“Operating under draconian laws with complete immunity, the Indian occupation forces are committing unspeakable atrocities and grave human rights violations against the Kashmiri people. The whereabouts of thousands of Kashmiris including young boys, abducted from their homes by Indian occupation forces, remain unknown,” he said.

Qureshi commended Azerbaijan, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for effectively articulating the voice of the Ummah in solidarity with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The leadership of the OIC Secretary General has been equally instrumental. The steadfast and resolute support of the OIC, reaffirmed recently at the CFM in Niamey, is a source of great strength to the Kashmiri people in their just and legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination,” he said.

Qureshi pointed out that the UN Security Council had also considered the matter thrice – in August 2019, January 2020 and August 2020.

“It is important to sustain this momentum. A unified political message to India from the OIC would be critical. We should forcefully demand India to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions in IOJ&K; halt its egregious human rights violations; provide access to human rights organizations, including the UN fact finding mission and OIC IPHRC; and seek a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people,” added Qureshi.

He said the plan that the Indian government had decided as the ‘Final Solution’ for Occupied Kashmir involved, firstly, a brutal campaign to physically, politically and psychologically crush the Kashmiris’ demand for freedom (Azadi). India has deployed over 900,000 troops in IOJ&K, making it the most militarized zone of the world.

The second part of the ‘Final Solution’ entails changing the demographic composition of IOJ&K, to transform it from a Muslim majority into a Hindu dominated territory. New residency, ownership and domicile laws have been introduced to facilitate a full-scale settler colonial project. Such demographic engineering in the occupied territory is a violation of international law including the 4th Geneva Convention and the UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir.

Thirdly, New Delhi aims to compel Pakistan to accept the Indian-imposed fait accompli in IOJ&K by threat or use of force, terrorism, subversion and economic aggression.

“Following India’s military misadventure against Pakistan in February 2019, Pakistan launched an effective response in exercise of its right to self-defense, resulting in downing of two Indian jets and capture of a pilot. Yet, it was Pakistan’s restraint which de-escalated the situation,” explained the foreign minister.

“The extremist RSS-BJP disinformation may instigate another conflict to retain its authoritarian grip on power and divert attention from its domestic troubles,” he warned.

“The recent revelations in the Indian media regarding orchestration of the belligerent action in February 2019 for electoral gains by the BJP lend credence to this possibility. We have repeatedly forewarned the international community of India’s plans to stage another ‘false-flag’ operation against Pakistan,” was the warning.

During its 47th session in Niamey last November, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) mandated the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir to meet regularly and to continue highlighting the Kashmir issue including at the United Nations. “The situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) is not hidden from the international community. In the wake of India’s illegal actions of August 5, 2019, the occupied territory has been shrouded in a ‘veil of darkness,” said Qureshi.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Office Saturday issued a clarification after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on Kashmir Solidarity Day, saying there’s no change in Pakistan’s principled position on the Kashmir dispute.

On Friday, Imran Khan told Kashmiris that Pakistan will grant the people of Azad Kashmir and Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir the right to be part of Pakistan or be a free state, if they so wish.

Responding to media queries in the weekly briefing, FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said there was no change in Pakistan’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute that remained anchored in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his address, reiterated Pakistan’s long-held position and support for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.

The spokesperson said the prime minister repeatedly spoke about the UNSC resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and underscored the need for implementation of those resolutions.

Chaudhri said Pakistan remained firmly committed to the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.

In his Kotli speech, the prime minister also made a conditional offer for a dialogue on the Kashmir dispute to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Addressing India, he said: “Today, I say to you again. Come resolve this Kashmir dispute with us. And for that, the first thing you must do is to restore Article 370. And then speak to us. And then, as per the United Nations resolution, give the Kashmiris their due right.”

The premier said India can never win a war, therefore, it must reverse the steps of August 5 and end the reign of atrocities in Indian Kashmir

He added, “We are ready to speak to you again. But I say this again. Do not mistake our hand of friendship for weakness. This country, Pakistan, belongs to those who bow to no one but God. We do not fear anyone but Him. So do not think we say this with fear.”