In a big setback to terror-state of Pakistan, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – the collective voice of the Muslim world, is reluctant about accepting Pakistan’s request for an immediate meeting on Kashmir. According to the reports in Pakistan newspaper Dawn, Saudi Arabia – the de-facto leader of the Ummah (community of Muslims across the globe) has shown reluctance to accept Pakistan’s request for an immediate meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on the issue of Kashmir.
Pakistan is one of the 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation which claims to represent a collective population of over 1.8 billion Muslims.
Pakistan has been pushing for the foreign ministers’ meeting of the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries on Kashmir. However, it is reported that Saudi Arabia is reluctant to support Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The support from Riyadh is considered a must for any move at the OIC.
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The kingdom has made several proposals to Pakistan to avoid the CFM including holding of a parliamentary forum or speakers’ conference from Muslim countries and also a joint meeting on Palestine and Kashmir issues. But, Pakistan has persisted with its proposal so far.
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Pakistan feels that the speakers’ meeting is not commensurate with the seriousness of the situation in Kashmir. Secondly, some in Islamabad are also worried that the speakers’ forum will be used by Saudi Arabia to bash Iran, further sidelining Kashmir issue at the OIC meeting.
Moreover, there are also apprehensions that clubbing the Kashmir dispute with Palestine at a meeting would effectively put the Kashmir issue on the backburner.
Reportedly, the Indian diplomats have also achieved success in watering down OIC’s meet on Kashmir as the Ministry of External Affairs has managed to get OIC to downgrade the level of participation for the meeting that could take place to discuss the issue of Kashmir.
Due to hectic negotiations from India’s diplomats, it has been learnt that only parliamentarians of member nations will participate at the meeting and no high-level meetings would take place on the issue of Kashmir. Further, the lower level meeting could be held in Pakistan itself and not in Riyadh.
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According to the senior officials in charge of the 47th CFM, it is expected that the usual resolutions on Kashmir may be included in the agenda of the foreign ministers’ meeting scheduled to be held in Niger in April. However, there will be no special focus on the Kashmir issue, especially on India’s decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has time-and-again attempted to internationalise the Kashmir issue to put pressure on the Indian government. However, apart from facing severe embarrassment, Pakistan has achieved nothing in its efforts to publicise the Kashmir issue. India, on the other hand, repeatedly reiterated that Kashmir is an internal issue and any discussions with Pakistan will only be bilateral.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Imran Khan facing yet another humiliation has reacted to the OIC’s rejection to hold a high-level meeting on Kashmir. Pakistan PM Imran Khan has now criticised the OIC for failing to speak in one voice on the Kashmir issue, indirectly chiding its leader Saudi Arabia for diluting support toward the cause.
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Having failed to drum up support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Khan, in his address at a Malaysian think tank expressed his regret that the OIC wasn’t unified on the Kashmir issue. “The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst (us). We can’t even come together as a whole on the OIC summit meeting on Kashmir,” Khan said.
Pakistan had faced a similar embarrassment last year too as the Islamic organisation OIC had invited the then India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to be the guest of honour at the inaugural plenary of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference at Abu Dhabi, UAE. Pakistan, which had attempted to put pressure on the OIC to cancel the invitation was forced into not attending the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.
Despite the objections raised by Pakistan, India did attend the conference today where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj targeted Pakistan over its support to terrorists. She urged the OIC to urge states indulging in Terror activities to dismantle their networks, and stop financing and harbouring elements that pose a grave security threat for the region.