OIC officials and a top Saudi diplomat voiced strong support for the Kashmiri people in their struggle for their UN-pledged right to self-determination at a special event held in New York to mark the 72nd anniversary of India's massive invasion and occupation of Kashmir, known as "Black Day."
The largely-attended event was organized by Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, the outgoing Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations (UN), whose dedication to the Kashmir cause was praised by guest speakers, with Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness, calling her the "voice of Kashmiri people."
It was the first time that foreign diplomats joined the annual observance of "Black Day" held here to voice their solidarity with the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir and to denounce India's annexation of the disputed state in violation of the UN resolutions and its lockdown, now nearing three months, which is enforced by 900,000 troops.
Ambassador Lodhi warmly thanked all the guests for attending the event which took place at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev, permanent observer of OIC to the UN, enumerated the steps taken by the 57-member organization in support of the Kashmiri people, and urged the international community to accelerate its efforts to help them "decisively" in achieving their legitimate rights.
He also drew attention of the audience to the joint communique adopted by OIC's Contact Group on Kashmir last month that called on India to rescind it's decision to strip the state's special status, withdraw the inhuman curfew and other restrictions and free thousands of detained people, especially young boys, and the local political leaders.
Ambassador Mehdiyev underscored the need for a peaceful resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Professor Akmal Saidov, chairperson of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), focused on the worsening rights situation in occupied Kashmir, and said India's August 5 move to abrogate Constitutional Articles 35A and 370 was "purely aimed at changing the demographic of the State of Jammu and Kashmir by making the indigenous Muslim population a minority within their homeland."
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