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Islamic bloc meets on Kashmir in Jeddah

Pakistan had requested emergency meeting of OIC Contact Group on disputed Jammu and Kashmir

26.02.2019
Islamic bloc meets on Kashmir in Jeddah

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA

As the deadly Feb. 14 attack in Kashmir continues to rock Indian-Pakistani relations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday met for an urgent meeting to discuss the disputed region.

Pakistan Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told a press briefing in Islamabad today that at Pakistan’s request, the OIC on last Sunday scheduled an emergency meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia of its Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting comes in the aftermath of this month's attack in Indian-administered Kashmir, in which 44 Indian soldiers were killed. New Delhi squarely blamed Islamabad for the attack, which was claimed by the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group. Pakistan denied any involvement.

“The meeting will review the actions taken by the Indian government in the aftermath of the attack on security forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir,” Pakistani paper Dawn quoted the OIC notice with regard to the meeting.

Pakistan is represented by its foreign secretary, Tehmina Janjua, in the meeting, Qureshi said.

The meeting comes two days before the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers meets for its 46th session in Abu Dhabi on March 1 and 2.

For the first time in the 50-year history of the Islamic bloc, the Abu Dhabi session will be attended by India’s foreign minister as a “guest of honor,” as invited by the United Arab Emirates.

Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held 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.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

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

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

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