Kashmir resolutions of OIC meeting do a balancing act
18 May 2007
Islamabad: A three-day meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers concluded here on Thursday with a resolution on Kashmir that was a balancing act between its traditional anti-India line and support for the bilateral peace process aimed at resolving the issue. Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said at a press conference after the concluding session that while the bilateral peace process made progress on a resolution to the Kashmir problem, Pakistan would continue applying 'diplomatic and moral' pressure to achieve that objective. In its Islamabad Declaration, the 34th session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers adopted a resolution on Kashmir reaffirming 'support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.' Human rights In addition, the resolution called 'for respect of the human rights of the Kashmiri people, and agree to provide all possible political and diplomatic support to the true representatives of the Kashmiri people in their struggle against foreign occupation.' It also expressed the 'hope that [the] ongoing composite dialogue between Pakistan and India will lead to a resolution of the Kashmir dispute and usher in lasting peace in South Asia.' Two resolutions Separately, a communique of the meeting contained two resolutions on Kashmir. One called for resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the relevant U.N. resolutions and as agreed upon in the Shimla Agreement; it urged India to cease human rights violations and allow international human rights watchdogs to visit Jammu and Kashmir and said elections under 'foreign occupation' were not a substitute to the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. It supported Pakistan's efforts to resolve the issue peacefully through bilateral talks with India, and urged New Delhi to allow the OIC secretary-general's special representative on Kashmir, Ezzat Kamel Mufti, to visit Jammu and Kashmir. The second resolution 'strongly' supported the peace process, and noting the commencement of the fourth round of the composite dialogue, appreciated the 'flexibility' shown by President Musharraf for his 'out of the box thinking' in making his four-point proposals. It called upon India to reciprocate positively. Defending the resolutions, Mr. Kasuri said: 'Where states have disputes, it is a very civilised way to resolve them bilaterally; until they are resolved states apply diplomatic and moral pressure to achieve that objective.' No contradiction Pointing to the resolution praising the bilateral peace process, he said: 'In the past that would not have been there. Pakistan has said repeatedly that the peace process has made progress, that the atmosphere has improved, that we are closer to a resolution, but that we need to resolve outstanding issues, particularly J&K.' Mr Kasuri refuted a suggestion that there was a contradiction between the resolution raising the U.N. Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and Pakistan's present approach to the issue. '[The resolutions] are in line with the multilateral approach and we are grateful to the OIC for supporting Pakistan. This is in line with the support shown by the OIC for the people of J&K for many years.' He said President Musharraf had also said that 'our legal stand is where it is' and that Pakistan was prepared to show flexibility provided India did similarly. 'It is in that context that this conference has commended the President and Pakistan for its constructive approach,' Mr. Kasuri said.