Secretary General of OIC, from Ghana Hissein Brahim Taha

Resolution of Kashmir dispute crucial to regional peace, says Hissein Taha

The secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Hissein Brahim Taha, along with a delegation, visited parts of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Sunday.

Türkiye's Permanent Representative to the OIC, Mehmet Metin Eker, together with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, and Niger, who are the members of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir, were also part of the visit.

The visiting secretary general arrived in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also known as Azad (liberated) Jammu and Kashmir, and laid a wreath at the Jammu and Kashmir Monument, said a statement from the Pakistan Foreign Ministry.

The delegation paid respect and offered “fateha” (prayer) in "memory of people who sacrificed their lives for the Kashmir cause," the statement added.

Later, the delegation visited the Line of Control, a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir valley between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India.

The delegation also met and interacted with the Kashmiri migrants and residents of the bordering areas.

Addressing a joint press conference with the President of Pakistan-administered Kashmir in the capital Islamabad, Taha said that resolution of the long-smoldering dispute is crucial to regional peace and in the better interest of the two neighbors.

Resolution of the dispute, he added, has been one of the key priorities of the Jeddah-based organization.

Reiterating the OIC's commitment to the resolution of the dispute, Taha said his visit is part of efforts to sensitize the international community and the member states on the ongoing situation in the Indian-administered Kashmir.

Türkiye's permanent representative, in his remarks, observed that all the Muslim countries desire a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. Ankara, Eker said, has always stood alongside Islamabad vis-a-vis its stand on Kashmir, state-run Pakistan Television reported.

The OIC delegation is currently on a three-day visit to Islamabad and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Disputed Region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China. Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights groups, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict since 1989.

Already frosty relations between the two countries plummeted to a new low after August 2019, when India scrapped the longstanding special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The two neighbours, however, last year, agreed to honour the 2003 cease-fire along the LoC followed by an exchange of letters between the two premiers and unconfirmed reports of "backdoor" contacts to stem the escalating tensions. Islamabad, nonetheless, reiterates that the normalization of ties with New Delhi is linked to the review of the Aug. 5 decision, and the ultimate resolution of the Kashmir dispute.