OIC Has a New Chief: An Eloquent and Sophisticated Diplomat, Yerzhan Kazykhanov

On behalf of the people of Kashmir, we offer you our sincerest congratulations on your election as the Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Conference. As you settle down to your new responsibilities, I would like you to know that the best wishes of people of Kashmir are with you.

May I also be permitted at the same time to raise the unresolved question of Kashmir with you briefly.  I would hasten to add that while we are fully aware of the multiplicity of issues that you will be devoting your time and attention to in the months to come,

you may perhaps like to remember that Kashmir is not a new issue, having been on the agenda of and in the cognizance of the United Nations for nearly 64 years.  Ironically, it is the only entity in the region of South Asia which has so far been denied the opportunity to determine its political future.

The resolutions of the United Nations Security Council on Kashmir are not the resolutions in the routine sense of the term.  Their provisions were negotiated in detail by the Commission with India and Pakistan and it was only after the consent of both Governments was explicitly obtained that they were endorsed by the Security Council.  They thus constitute a binding and solemn international agreement about the settlement of the Kashmir dispute.>

In saying this, we are by no means unmindful of the fact that, in your capacity as the Chairman of OIC, you have to be impartial between the parties concerned and perceived to be so.  However, it is, therefore, on the ground of the recognized principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respect for international agreements and for the resolutions of the Security Council that we approach you with the appeal that you exercise your good offices to facilitate between India and Pakistan for promoting a solution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of all zones of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Their determination has to be made by giving the people of Kashmir right to self-determination.  It is obvious, that, if the people of any region of Jammu & Kashmir wish to stay either with India or with Pakistan or to choose to be independent, their will has to be fully respected.

Today, when nationalities, sub nationalities, ethnic unity and in some cases, even communities are demanding self-determination, we realize that perhaps the phrase and even the concept has begun to sound a bit tiresome, if not commonplace.  What, Mr. Chairman I would urge be remembered is that the people of Kashmir were promised a free and unfettered opportunity under international auspices to determine the disposition of their territory.  If more and more people in the world are demanding the same right today, at times clamorously, this should not work to the disadvantage of the people of Kashmir, nor should it in any way dilute their claim.

It bears no reiteration that the Kashmir conflict primarily involves the life and future of the people of the land. However, the unresolved dispute is at the underlying cause of tension between two nuclear rivals—India and Pakistan. Because of its impact on relations between these two neighboring countries as well as Afghanistan, it directly affects the peace and stability in an unstable region home to more than 1.4 billion people, and the peace and security of many more nations beyond.

The people of Kashmir have suffered long and needlessly because of this brutal conflict.  They demand peace with justice. There have been unprecedented peaceful and nonviolent demonstrations in Kashmir since June 2008.  This opportunity India must not miss.  Please help Kashmir find an end to conflict and let the moral weight of OIC serve the cause of peace and democracy in Kashmir.

A sincere and serious effort towards a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute must squarely deal with the realities of the situation and fully respond to the people’s rights involved in it. A peace process mounted on a fragile platform is bound to collapse. Indeed, any process that ignores the wishes of the people of Kashmir and is designed to sidetrack the United Nations will not only prove to be an exercise in futility but can also cause incalculable human and political damage.

(This memorandum was personally handed over to His Excellency Mr. Yerzhan Kazykhanov, The Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan and the Chairman of Organization of Islamic Conference by Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai).

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