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World’s largest Muslim bloc concerned by Kashmir violence

By AP - Aug 20,2016 - Last updated at Aug 20,2016

ISLAMABAD — The world’s largest bloc of Muslim countries expressed concern Saturday over alleged human rights violations in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which has seen weeks of deadly clashes between Muslim protesters and police.

Iyad Madani, the secretary general of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, said at a news conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad that the situation in Kashmir was deteriorating and urged the international community to act.

“The situation is getting worse rather than better and this cannot continue,” Madani said after meeting with Sartaj Aziz, the foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister.

Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim region, is divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in its entirety by both. Most Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favour independence or a merger with Pakistan, which has long called for a referendum on the region’s future. Hindu-majority India has refused to hold such a vote.

“We should not be afraid of referendum,” Madani said, adding that it was up to the Kashmiri people to decide their future.

 

Standing next to him at the news conference, Aziz accused Indian forces of using lethal force against Kashmiris protesting peacefully over extrajudicial killings. He said a peaceful solution to the dispute over the region “is an imperative for regional peace and stability”.

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