TURKEY URGED TO PLAY ROLE MEDIATOR; OIC TO INTENSIFY ROLE ON SELF-DETERMINATION, END TO REPRESSION IN IOK
Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in a statement issued here, has said that despite the rising tide of Hindutva and Indian jingoism and irredentism, we must persevere the quest for a political and diplomatic solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “The global community must continue to build pressure on India to reverse the illegal steps it took on August 5 and October 31 to annex and colonise the state of Jammu and Kashmir”, he said.
The statement was issued in connection to the completion of his recent visit to Turkey and the OIC headquarters in Jeddah which included a meeting with OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen.
The President was invited to Turkey as the Chief Guest at the two-day international conference on Kashmir jointly organised by the Lahore Centre for Peace Research (LCPR) and Institute of Strategic Thinking (SDE) on the theme “Kashmir Turmoil: Emerging Threats to Peace and Role of International Community”. The event was attended by dozens of senior Turkish political representatives; prominent parliamentarians; scholars; academicians; researchers; journalists; opinion-makers; and analysts from across the world. Numerous sessions and workshops held during the conference looked at the legal, political, security, human rights as well as humanitarian dimensions of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.
The President during the international conference, delivered the following key messages which included, “Save Kashmiris from genocide and collective annihilation”. Highlighting the gross human rights violations taking place in IOJ&K, he said that we must work with the Human Rights Council to constitute a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in IOJ&K and prepare the ground for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor for the IOJ&K. He urged the UN Security Council to meet and intervene in Kashmir to save people from the carnage unleashed by India and to stem a drift towards war in the region that could spiral to the nuclear level with dire consequences.
Continuing with his message, he said that the world must unite to help repulse the rising tide of Hindutva, terming it as the most pernicious form of violent religious extremism that threatens not only Muslims in Kashmir, Pakistan and South Asia, but Muslims and human beings all over the world.
The AJK President expressed the deep gratitude of the people of Jammu & Kashmir to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for advocating the need for the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute through dialogue, as well as for Turkey’s principled stance on the issue. He emphasized that Turkey could play an important role towards the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir conflict as a mediator as well as through its humanitarian diplomacy.
The President had numerous engagements in Turkey which included meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and current Chairman for Foreign Affairs of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP), Mr. Cevdet Yilmaz and Member of the Parliament and the Chairman of Pakistan-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Association, Mr. Ali Sahin. The President also met with Rector of Ankara’s Social Sciences University, Professor Mehmet Barca and proposed for the establishment of a research centre aimed at the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and also explored ideas for enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the public sector universities in AJK and Ankara Social Sciences University. The President also addressed a group of international students studying at various Turkish universities at an event hosted by Asma Kopru International Student Association in Ankara during which he had an interactive question and answer session with the students.
Over a dozen leading Turkish media outlets interviewed the President in which the President informed them of the current human rights situation in IOJK and also of the illegal and unilateral steps taken by India after August 5. The President was also invited by to visit Anadolu Agency’s headquarter by its Director General Mr. Senol Kazanci, where he also interacted with the senior editorial team and gave a detailed interview.
The President praised the leadership role of Turkey in the resolution of the Kashmir issue saying that there was a strong expression of support from the senior Turkish government and political representatives for ending the on-going Indian atrocities in the IOJ&K; lifting of the blockade; addressing the human rights and humanitarian plight of the Kashmiris; and above all, allowing the people of Jammu & Kashmir to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination.
In the second leg of his official tour, the President, at the OIC headquarters met OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen. The two leaders during the meeting discussed the latest situation in IOJK. The President informed the OIC Secretary General of Indian plans to change the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir and pave way for changing its demographic structure by allowing outsiders to settle there.
Dr. Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen reiterated OIC’s stance on Kashmir dispute and said that peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute according to the wishes of Kashmiri people and in accordance with the UNSC resolutions would bring durable peace in the region.
While lauding the seminal role of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, who through its recent resolution unanimously expressed its solidarity with the people of Kashmir during its meeting on the side lines of the 74th UN General Assembly. The President urged the OIC to persuade to exert pressure on India to immediately end their repression, respect the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people and resolve the dispute peacefully under the UN Security Council resolutions.
Sardar Masood Khan also attended the 16th Regular Session of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), as a Special Guest, to brief them on the current human rights situation in IOJK. This was the first time that a President of Azad Kashmir had addressed and briefed the Commission in its Headquarters.
He urged the members of the Commission to not to believe the lies and falsehoods of India designed to hoodwink the world that the situation in IOJK was returning to “normal”. He said that after August 5 the situation IOJK has become dire. He also appealed to them to implement its own recommendations given in its 2017 report to start a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against India; and request the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Solidarity Fund to initiate projects in the livelihood sector, health and education in IOJK and refugee camps in AJK.
The President on the occasion said that Azad Kashmir was looking forward to the visit of H.E. Mr. Yousef Al Dobeay, OIC’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, in the near future.
The AJK President also attended a pictorial exhibition and seminar in remembrance of Kashmir Black Day jointly organized by the Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah, the OIC General Secretariat and Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the OIC.
Speaking to the participants of the seminar, he said that the situation in IOJK is horrendous and the world will not know the real scale of the massacres and persecution until the curfew is lifted. “The little information that trickles out, despite the blockade, is just the tip of the iceberg. The avalanche has yet to come”, he said.
President Masood Khan also addressed the media at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Jeddah and interacted with the Kashmir Committee, Jeddah chapter and Pakistani-Kashmiri diaspora community. The President lauded the efforts of the diaspora community in helping create critical awareness on the Kashmir issue.