OIC appoints special envoy to highlight Indian atrocities in Kashmir

In this December 17, 2018 file photo, an Indian policeman stands guard behind concertina wire laid across a road leading to the Indian army headquarters in Srinagar. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation appointed special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday to help resolve the decades-old conflict between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed powers, India and Pakistan. (Reuters)
Updated 03 June 2019

OIC appoints special envoy to highlight Indian atrocities in Kashmir

  • Kashmiri leaders urge special envoy to push for UN plebiscite in their region
  • Analysts say the envoy will be dealing with one of the most complex and challenging disputes

ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir can help resolve the decades-old conflict between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed neighbors – India and Pakistan – by projecting the Kashmir issue at various international forums and engaging all stakeholders in a meaningful dialogue to find a sustainable solution to the dispute, Kashmiri leaders and experts said on Sunday.
The OIC appointed Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia as its special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, besides extending its support to the “legitimate right to self-determination” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
Since 1947, Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region with 86,000 square miles of territory, remains disputed between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim it in full but only control parts of it. The two nations have also fought wars over the territory, but the dispute continues to linger on.
“We hope that the OIC special envoy [on Jammu and Kashmir] will support and highlight the legitimate and peaceful freedom struggle of Kashmiris at all international forums and expose Indian atrocities against them,” Mushaal Hussein Mullick, chairperson of the Peace and Culture Organization, told Arab News on Sunday.
She said that activists and freedom fighters in Kashmir had been asking Muslim countries for years to appoint a global envoy who could amplify their voice internationally, adding it was “encouraging to see it happen finally.”
“The position of the special envoy is very powerful because it has the backing of all Muslim countries … and it also goes beyond simple condemnations and news reports highlighting Indian violence against unarmed Kashmiris,” said Mullick, who is also the wife of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik.
A final communique of the 14th summit of the OIC held in Makkah called for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to “investigate grave human rights violations [in Kashmir] and urged India to allow the Commission and other international organizations access to IoK [Indian occupied Kashmir],” Pakistan’s foreign office said on Saturday in a statement.
With 57 member states and a collective population of approximately 1.68 billion people, the OIC is the world’s second largest intergovernmental body after the United Nations.
“The OIC Summit gave a tremendous platform to Kashmir. We are lucky to have the world’s second largest multilateral organization take up the Kashmir conflict in such a robust way,” Ahmed Qureshi, a Kashmir affairs analyst, told Arab News.
Discussing the appointment of the OIC special envoy, he said that a difficult challenge awaited him as “he will be walking into one of the most difficult and protracted conflicts in the world today. But the good thing is that momentum exists and he can capitalize on it.”
Sardar Zaid Sajid, a Kashmiri human rights activist, also lauded the appointment, saying that the OIC focal person must try to resolve the conflict since it “poses a security threat to the whole world.”
“Both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed countries and Kashmir conflict can trigger a deadly war between them anytime,” he warned, urging the special envoy to push the UN to hold plebiscite in Kashmir as per its resolutions.


Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

Updated 26 May 2020

Tuned in: Pakistani twins ride the wave of Ertugrul’s success with local soundtrack

  • Musician brothers say reaction to the cover version has been a ‘breakthrough’ experience
  • Work gets millions of views, retweets by Turkish deputy minister, global bloggers

KARACHI: It’s got a ring to it.
Or so say fans and followers of 26-year-old Pakistani musician brothers, Leo Twins, after the duo created a cover version of Turkish drama Diriliş: Ertuğrul’s original soundtrack.
“We were actually asked by our fans to create a cover version of the original soundtrack in the comments section of our channel. So, it’s an amazing feeling to know that it’s being loved so much,” Sharoon Leo, one of the twins, said during an exclusive interview with Arab News.
It’s the cover track which accompanies the roll credits for Ertugrul Ghazi, the Urdu-dubbed version of the drama series which is based on the history of the Muslim Oghuz Turks from the 13th century, and was released on state-run PTV on April 25 after Prime Minister Imran Khan said it would “help the youth learn about Islamic values and history.”
Since being released on video-sharing platform Youtube three weeks ago, the soundtrack has already garnered 5.1 million views.
Sharoon told Arab News that while recreating the cover was a challenge – owing to the popularity of the OST conceptualized by Jenerik Müziği – they’ve tried to retain its “Middle-Eastern feel” as much as possible.
“We always try to do our covers differently from the originals,” Sharoon said talking about their cover versions of HBO’s popular series, Game of Thrones, and Pakistani drama Mere Pass Tum Ho.
“There was an instrument in the original track which we thought could best be replaced with the rubab. We also enhanced the violin, which was not very obvious initially,” he explained.

A screengrab from the music video of the track 'Hum Zalmi' featuring Leo Twins.

While Sharoon plays the violin and cello, his twin, Haroon works with other instruments such as the guitar, rubab, tabla, piano, cajon, ukulele, mandolin, darbuka, and more.
Together, they set up Leo Twins, a namesake of their zodiac sign, in their birthplace of Rawalpindi in 2012.
Sharoon credits their success to their “real teacher in music,” Ustad Idrees Ahmed Khan, explaining how a simple gesture of kindness on his part set the tone for their triumphant rise.
“One day, we saw a guitar and violin at a shop, but did not have enough money to buy them. So, we sold our new mobiles and paid for the instruments. Ustaad Idrees Ahmed Khan, who used to give music lessons at the shop, was observing us the whole time, and asked if we would like to learn music from him for free. He said it was because he saw a passion in us for music, which was rare those days, especially in our generation,” Sharoon said.
That was eight years ago, and while they’ve had several hits and misses through the years, they got their first big break in 2015, after featuring alongside music giants, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam, as part of their team on Nescafe Basement’s Season 3.
However, nothing compares to the accolades they’ve received for the Ertugrul cover, Sharoon said, with the soundtrack being retweeted by Turkish Deputy Minister Ali Shaheen and several other bloggers in Turkey.
“It has attracted a very different audience. We have been doing covers to pay tribute to our legendary artists for several years now and could only gather 45,000 subscribers. Still, after we uploaded the Ertugrul Ghazi soundtrack, the number of subscribers has crossed 243K. This soundtrack has given us a new breakthrough,” he said.