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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been under inhuman military siege and communication blockade since August 5, 2019 which has turned the occupied territory into the largest open-air prison in the world.

This he said while addressing the ambassadorial meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir via a video link on Saturday.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said India must be forced to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions in the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir and move towards a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

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

The foreign minister said the steadfast and resolute support of the OIC, reaffirmed recently at the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Niamey, was a source of great strength to the Kashmiri people in their just and legitimate struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.

“We should forcefully demand India to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions in IIOJK; halt its egregious human rights violations; provide access to human rights organizations, including the UN fact-finding mission and OIC IPHRC,” he said.

The foreign minister also sought the OIC’s role to seek a peaceful settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people. He hoped that the Contact Group meeting would help identify action-oriented and practical steps to this end.

He said 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.

“It is gratifying that the New York Chapter of the Contact Group is playing a prominent role in this collective effort,” he said and lauded Azerbaijan, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for solidarity with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The leadership of the OIC secretary-general had been equally instrumental, he added.

Qureshi told the meeting that the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) was not hidden from the international community.

In the wake of India’s illegal actions of August 5, 2019, the occupied territory had been shrouded in a “veil of darkness”. He said the inhuman military siege and communication blockade over occupied Jammu and Kashmir had already lasted 550 days.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said operating under draconian laws with complete immunity, the Indian occupation forces were committing unspeakable atrocities and grave human rights violations against the Kashmiri people.

The advent of winter exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. The Covid-19 pandemic brought it to a tipping point. He said oblivious to the plight of Kashmiris, the RSS-BJP regime was busy orchestrating what they have ominously called a “Final Solution” for IIOJK.

“This ‘Final Solution’ involves, firstly, a brutal campaign to physically, politically and psychologically crush the Kashmiris’ demand for freedom. The second part entails changing the demographic composition of IIOJK, to transform it from a Muslim-majority into a Hindu dominated territory.

“Thirdly, New Delhi aims to compel Pakistan to accept the Indian-imposed fait accompli in occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the threat or use of force, terrorism, subversion and economic aggression,” he remarked.

Qureshi told the session that new residency, ownership and domicile laws had been introduced to facilitate a full-scale settler colonial project, in violation of international law, Geneva Convention and United Nations Security Council resolutions.

He said following India’s military misadventure against Pakistan in February 2019, Pakistan launched an effective response in exercise of its right to self-defence, resulting in downing of two Indian jets and capture of an air force pilot. Yet, it was Pakistan’s restraint which de-escalated the situation.

He said the extremist RSS-BJP disinformation may instigate another conflict to retain its authoritarian grip on power and divert attention from its domestic troubles. 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. He said Pakistan had pursued an intense political and diplomatic campaign on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Recounting the government’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue, he mentioned his address at the UN General Assembly in September 2018 and by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019 and 2020.

He said since August 5, 2019, the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir had held three meetings, twice at the ministerial level. The ministerial declarations issued by the Contact Group had sent a strong message of OIC’s support and solidarity to the international community.

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,” he added.

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