Statement by Sardar Masood Khan, President of AJK, at the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, during the 14th Islamic Summit

Honorable Secretary General,

Dr. Yusuf A. Al-Othaimeen;

Honorable Foreign Ministers,

Distinguished delegates,

Assalam-o-Alaikum,  

I thank the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its steadfast endorsement of the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and for demanding an end to Indian repression in the Occupied Kashmir. We are grateful to the Secretary General for raising his voice to defend the rights of the oppressed Kashmiris; and we  express our deep gratitude to  the Contact Group members for their staunch support to the Kashmiri people and Pakistan.  

Since the last meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Abu Dhabi, in early March this year, the human rights situation in the IOK has further deteriorated. The Indian occupation forces have intensified killings, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, custodial killings, fake encounters, torture, rape and blindings. Pursuing a scorched earth policy, Indian troops are destroying houses, businesses, orchards and crops.  

Torture and abuse in prisons in IOK are a rampant practice, according to a report released early this month by the  Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). 

Prisoners in IOK, mostly civilians, according to this report,   have been subjected to water-boarding, dunking detainees’ heads in water, hangings, electrocution, burning bodies with iron rods, and sexualized torture including rape. The list is long.   

This past year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the British Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) , in their reports, gave irrefutable evidence of India’s excessive use of force, killings, rape, and use of pellet guns to blind people, with impunity. The High Commissioner recommended to the Human Rights Council to form a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the appalling and hideous rights violations in IOK. Both reports call for repeal of the two draconian laws - the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act - that empower the occupation forces to commit such heinous crimes. 

Last February, a sub-committee of the European Parliament, after a hearing on the rights’ abuses in IOK, called for a solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.  

These crimes against humanity in IOK are a direct consequence of Indian state terrorism and a systematic reign of terror imposed on Kashmiris. The cumulative result of these operations in ghastly and gruesome.  

Since 1989, around 100,000 Kashmiris have fallen victim to the India tyranny. Since July 2016, more than 1000 Kashmiris have been killed. By using the pellet-firing shotguns, the marauding troops have blinded or seriously injured 6,000 Kashmiris bequeathing on India the odious sobriquet of being the biggest mass blinder in the history of warfare.  

Today, the total number of Indian troops in IOK has swelled to 780,000, out of which 80,000 were added after the Pulwama attack to butcher and brutalize Kashmiris. Jammu and Kashmir has  the highest ratio of armed forces to people, which is 70 troops to every 1,000 people in a population of 13 million; but in reality, in the Valley of Kashmir, it is one soldier to 12 Kashmiri civilians.   

Pulwama itself signaled Kashmiris’ total estrangement and indeed severance from India.

In the recent elections, inciting hatred against Kashmiris, the Indian extremist parties flaunted and brandished their atrocities in IOK as a vote-catching ploy.

In violation of Rule 130 of the International Humanitarian Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I, the ruling Indian party has declared that it would repeal Article 35 A of its Constitution, which recognizes Kashmiris’ exclusive rights to permanent residence, employment, acquisition of property and educational scholarships. This constitutes a war  

Jammu and Kashmir is the unfinished business of the partition of India and Pakistan. We present a 9-point formula for peace and security in the region and urge the OIC to:  

1.           Ask India to recognize the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that has the protection of international law. In this context, India should cooperate with the UN, Pakistan and Kashmiris to implement the UN Security resolutions which through a plebiscite will ascertain the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.  

2.         Press India to end its abhorrent human rights violations and crimes against humanity in IOK; and revert to dialogue and diplomacy on Kashmir instead of using coercive power.  

3.         Ask India to withdraw its troops from IOK. 

4.         Ask India to release Hurriyet leaders - Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah and Assiya Indrabi - from Tihar jail, as well as free Syed Ali Gilani, Mir Waiz Umar Farooq and other political prisoners.  

5.         Help the parties to the Kashmir dispute to reactivate a multilateral diplomatic process for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, including resort to negotiations, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and other peaceful means in accordance with the UN Charter.

 

6.         Urge the UN Secretary General to intercede to play his role to resolve the Kashmir dispute and appoint a Special Envoy on Kashmir.

 7.          Urge OIC members in the Human Rights Council to take an initiative for the formation of a Commission of Inquiry on

8.         Ask India to allow OIC’s Human Rights Commision and its Special Envoy on Kashmir to visit IOK.

 

9.         Implement the recommendations of the OIC’s own Human Rights Commission for  (a) initiating development projects in the livelihood, health and education sectors in IOK and refugees’ camps in AJK, with the help of the Islamic Development Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund; and (b) using the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Movement against India to pressurize it to meet its human rights obligations.

 

We appeal to the OIC and to the international community to not just make efforts to defuse tensions in South Asia but to help find a solution of the core dispute that has plunged the region into chronic strife and antagonism. The Indian aggression against Pakistan on February 26 this year demonstrated that if the Kashmir dispute was not resolved, the security of our shared regions would remain fraught with the perils of war and nuclear escalation. 

 

Kashmiris consider the OIC to be their family. In this dark hour, from a land stalked by death and devastation, the Kashmiris look towards the OIC with hope. They do so, even as they count their dead bodies every day and try to nurse their mortal wounds. They also aspire that one day they will be free from tyranny. They suffer as no other people have suffered in the recent history and yet they remain resolute in their faith to win liberty no matter how high the costs are. Kashmiris want peace, not war; they do not want Kashmir to be a nuclear flashpoint, but a symbol of amity and connectivity. Help us to realize this dream.

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