Masood Khan condemns airspace violation, calls for defusing escalation created by India

Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while addressing the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Contact Group of Kashmir, expressed his strong condemnation of the unprovoked and cowardly violation of Pakistan’s airspace across the Line of Control by Indian jets. Members of participating countries including Turkey, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan also unanimously condemned this act of aggression by India.

The extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Contact Group of Kashmir was called on the eve of the 46th Session of the OIC-Council of Foreign Ministers (OIC-CFM).

The President in his opening remarks expressed his disappointment on India’s Minister of External Affairs being invited to the OIC-CFM meeting despite it consistently rejecting OIC’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. He said the invitation is both provocative and galling to the people of Kashmir.

India, he said, has a poor human rights record and no matter of political and economic expediency should allow for India to be invited to any assemblage of this august organization.

The President said that to avenge the Pulwama attack, collective punishment is being meted out to the Kashmiri civilians living across India and in Jammu and Kashmir. Attacked by mobs, the Kashmiris have been forced to evacuate or flee their homes and workplaces, he said.

The President said that in the aftermath of the Pulwama incident; there are clampdowns and crackdowns all over Jammu and Kashmir leading to the incarceration of Kashmiri leaders, political workers and their relatives. He said that in the past few days over 400 people have been arbitrarily arrested while gun-toting trigger happy Indian occupation troops are targeting young Kashmiris and gunning them down.

India, said the President, has been at war with the Kashmiri people for the past 71 years. He said that in just the past two and half years over one thousand innocent Kashmiris have been killed and more than six thousand Kashmiris of all ages have been fully or partially blinded with pellet firing shotguns. Since 1989, about 100,000 Kashmiris have been massacred, thousands of women have been raped, thousands have been forcibly disappeared, and the bodies of thousands more have been interred unceremoniously in mass and unmarked graves, he said. Indian occupation forces, he said, while targeting Kashmiris do not distinguish between militants and civilians, combatants and non-combatants.

The entire population of Kashmir, he said, is being intimidated and as if 700,000 troops already deployed in the IOK were not enough, additional 10,000 paramilitary troops have been rushed into the region, he said.

President Khan while denouncing punitive measures adopted by India to transform the demography in Jammu and Kashmir, said that today the population of Muslims in Jammu has been reduced to a mere 33 percent from the recorded 61 percent 71 years ago. This, he said, is in clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I.

President Masood Khan while lamenting India’s irresponsible policy and posture said that as the elections get closer, the ruling party along with its militant affiliates – Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and Vishva Hindu Parishad – is whipping up incitement to hatred against Pakistan and Kashmiris to pave the way for electoral gains.

President Azad Kashmir on the expressed his gratitude to the OIC for passing resolutions year after year for the realization of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people and an end to repression in IOK. He strongly urged the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir to send a strong message through the upcoming Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers to put pressure on India to discard its militaristic frenzy against Kashmiris and Pakistan and stop killing Kashmiris and violating their fundamental freedoms and inalienable human rights.

In his address the President requested the OIC-Council of Foreign Ministers to; (i) urge the United Nations Security Council and the UN Secretary General to take a proactive role, through statesmanship and mediation under Chapter 6 of the UN Charter, to help defuse the rising tensions and escalation created by India; (ii) urge the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir; (iii) demand India to stop forthwith its use of brute force, indiscriminate killings and violations of human rights of Kashmiris; (iv) uphold the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir people in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions; (v) ask India to withdraw its occupation forces from IOK;

Furthermore, he said that, (vi) demand India to release detained Kashmir leaders; (vii) support the recommendations of the reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir of the United Kingdom Parliament which calls on India to rescind two draconian laws - Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act; and (viii) support the recommendation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to directly assess the human rights situation in IOK; and (ix) implement recommendations of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) which, inter-alia, call for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement on India to meet its human rights obligations; coordinate and collaborate with the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Development Fund to initiate development projects in the IOK; and urge India to remove travel restrictions on Kashmiri leaders and facilitate their free movement abroad.

The President also presented a memorandum by the True Representatives of the Kashmiri People to the OIC Secretary General. The Memorandum was handed over to Assistant Secretary General of the OIC Ambassador Ahmad Ssengendo.

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