KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan on Wednesday welcomed the Organization of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) rejection of a new residency law introduced in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

In a Twitter post, Aisha Farooqui, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said: “Pakistan welcomes OIC statement strongly condemning and rejecting Indian government’s illegal actions to redefine domicile rules to alter IoJ&K [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir] demographic, and terms it settlement colonialism against OIC, UNSC resolutions, 4th Geneva Convention, [and] international humanitarian laws”.

The controversial law, notified by New Delhi on Monday, prescribes the procedure for issuance of domicile certificate, which is a mandatory requirement for seeking jobs in the region.

However, critics, including Pakistan, say it is a continuation of India’s move to rescind the region’s semi-autonomous status in August last year, and paves the way for outsiders to settle in the disputed territory.

Under the new law, eligible non-locals, along with people who have lived in Indian-administered Kashmir for 15 years, or studied there for seven years and appeared in class 10th or 12th examinations in a local school, can apply for the certificate.

Earlier, in a statement, the OIC said it had been following with deep concern the “unilateral” scrapping of the disputed valley’s longstanding special status in August last, and subsequent measures to alter the demographics of and undermine the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The OIC’s general secretariat, according to the statement, reaffirmed the importance of complying with international law and UNSC resolutions, considering the recent notification of Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020 as “baseless, running counter to international law and UN Security Council resolution 122.

Recalling the Islamic Summits’ and the Council of Foreign Ministers’ resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, the organization reaffirmed its solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

It also called on the international community to gear up its efforts to resolve the dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and as per the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed 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.

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

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

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