UNITED NATIONS - Members of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation’s Contact Group on Kashmir on Wednesday expressed their complete solidarity with the suffering Kashmiri people, and called on India to lift 51-day-old repressive lockdown as well as rescind its illegal annexation of the disputed state.

Briefing journalists after the ministerial meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the unanimous adoption of the communique represented a “positive development” and had given a boost to Pakistan’s intense diplomatic campaign to push for a settlement of the decades-old Kashmir dispute.

The stage for today’s ministerial meeting was set at last night’s dinner hosted by Prime Minister Imran Khan for the OIC Contact Group members -- foreign ministers Azerbaijan, Niger, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and OIC Secretary-General Dr. Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen -- where the members discussed their strategy to defend and advance the UN-pledged inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination. Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan was also present.

Reaffirms full support to Kashmiris for their right to self-determination

The communique, which was adopted after a detailed briefing by the Pakistani foreign minister on the situation in Kashmir, would be submitted for action by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, which will meet next week.

It reiterates OIC’s ‘deep concern’ over the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, deploring the siege of the Kashmiri population, communications blackout, indiscriminate use of force, including pellet guns, abduction of young boys.

The communique notes with “deep concern” the lack of access to hospitals, medicine and food supplies.

It welcomed the UN Security Council meeting held last month at Pakistan’s request, as also the statement which UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres which affirmed that the UN position on the Kashmir dispute was governed by the UN Charter and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

According to the communique, the ministerial meeting: Reaffirmed its support for the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people for realization of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom from Indian occupation.

It further reaffirmed that the Jammu & Kashmir was an internationally recognised dispute as recognised by UN Security Council resolutions and the UN Secretary-General.

It called on the Human Rights Council to accept and implement the recommendations of UN OHCHR (office of High Commissioner for Human Rights) to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate human rights violations in occupied Jammu & Kashmir.

It called on India to allow full and free access to the OIC, IPHRC and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir in order to independently investigate reports of the gross and systematic human rights violations taking place there.

It declared that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was the core issue between Pakistan and India and its final settlement, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and a UN supervised plebiscite, was indispensable for durable peace and stability in South Asia and beyond.

It demanded that India rescind its unilateral illegal actions and reiterate its commitment to abide by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

India should provide solemn assurances that it will not change the occupied territory’s demographic composition and not allow non-Kashmiris to acquire property or residency in Jammu and Kashmir.

India should halt its human rights violations in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, including the use of force against peaceful demonstrators, especially the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, allow peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, release all political prisoners, activists and abducted youth.

India must repeal its draconian emergency laws, and withdraw its heavy military presence from Kashmiri cities, towns and villages; and India should provide unhindered access to occupied Jammu and Kashmir to human rights organizations and international media to ascertain and report on the situation in the occupied territory.

Azad Kashmir President Masood Khan highly praised Pakistan’s effort to highlight the worsening situation of the Kashmiri people, saying the country’s leadership was sparing no efforts to advance their cause.