OIC resolutions on Kashmir collective voice of Islamic world, reinforcement of Pakistan’s position: FO

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said that the resolutions and pronouncements of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation were the collective voice of the Islamic world which reinforced Pakistan’s call for settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, at her weekly press briefing, welcomed the reaffirmation by the OIC of its strong and unequivocal position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute during the 15th Islamic Summit of the OIC held in Banjul, recently.

“The Summit’s Final Communiqué and the ‘Banjul Declaration’ reaffirmed unwavering support and solidarity with the Kashmiri people, called on India to revoke all unilateral and illegal actions taken since 5 August 2019 in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and respect the rights and freedoms of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.” Besides, she said the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir was the only OIC contact group that met on the sidelines of the Islamic Summit, reflecting OIC’s strong solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir and their right to self-determination. “Pakistan also welcomes the report of the OIC Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir on his visit to Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The report highlights India’s continuing violations of international law in IIOJK,” the spokesperson said and reiterated Pakistan’s continued political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiri people. Apprising the media of the diplomatic engagements, she mentioned the ongoing visit of Uzbek Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov to Pakistan and his meetings with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar and other cabinet members. He will also call on President Asif Ali Zardari and military leadership, she added. In the meetings, the two sides reaffirmed multi-faceted and robust partnership between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and agreed to enhance close cooperation in security, defence, economy, trade, investment and connectivity, besides reaffirming commitment to the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Railways Project.

She told the media that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Dr Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Al-Khulaifi, arrived in Islamabad on Thursday morning this morning as a special envoy of the Qatari Prime Minister. During the visit, two sides will discuss areas of bilateral engagement and cooperation with a particular focus on energy-related cooperation and deepening of trade and investment ties. Regional and global developments are also on the agenda. Coming to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)’s report, spokesperson Baloch said the document was based on faulty assumptions and unsubstantiated allegations and was non-reflective of the ground realities in Pakistan. “We believe USCIRF’s annual exercise of designating countries is unwarranted and futile.

The futility of USCIRF’s recommendations can be gauged by the fact that since 2020 the US State Department has ignored its recommendation to declare India a “Country of Particular Concern”. This exercise would have more credibility if it were free of double standards and geo-political considerations and if it paid increased attention to the glaring rise of Islamophobia.” The spokesperson strongly condemned Israeli settlers’ attack on a Jordanian aid convoy carrying humanitarian assistance to occupied Gaza. “Pakistan condemns in the strongest terms the invasion and seizure of the Rafah border crossing in southern Gaza by Israeli occupation forces in defiance of international warnings and acceptable international behaviour,” she remarked.

The spokesperson said the Israeli forces were now moving forward to forcibly displace civilians from the last remaining shelter for millions fleeing from the inhumane assault in the rest of the besieged Gaza Strip. “These war crimes and crimes against humanity must end. We call on the international community to take urgent measures to bring an end to this aggression and genocide. Measures should be taken to fully protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law and the occupation forces must be held accountable for the Gaza genocide,” she added.