In a major embarrassment to Pakistan, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – an inter-governmental organisation of Muslim-populated countries has decided not to include the ‘Kashmir issue’ in its agenda of foreign ministers’ meeting that is scheduled to be held in Niger from November 27-28.
According to the reports, the OIC has dropped the ‘Kashmir issue’ from the agenda of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), resulting in distress in Pakistan, which has sought to repeatedly internationalise India’s internal matters.
The statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Wednesday to announce Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s participation stated that during the two-day session, they will discuss a range of issues facing the Muslim world, including the “Jammu and Kashmir dispute”.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry’s statement further said Qureshi intended to highlight the “aggravating human rights and humanitarian situation” in Jammu and Kashmir after India decided to scrap the controversial special status of the erstwhile state in August 2019.
OIC’s agenda does not have any mention of Kashmir
However, the claims made by Pakistan are not true as official statements issued by OIC in English and Arabic does not mention about Kashmir issue being on the agenda for the meeting.
The official statements of the OIC quoting the organisation’s secretary-general Yousef Al-Othaimeen said that the meeting of the foreign ministers, being held with the theme of “United against terrorism for peace and development”, has an agenda that includes “topics and issues of concern to the Muslim world”.
The statement read, “In addition to the Palestinian cause, the fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and defamation of religious, the Council will discuss the situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states, fundraising for the Rohingya cause at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as well as the promotion of dialogue among civilisations, cultures and religions, and other emerging matters”.
The above statement does not have any reference to the Kashmir issue. The statement in Arabic said nothing about the Kashmir issue.
The terrorist-state of Pakistan, which has illegally occupied parts of Kashmir, has been demanding a special meeting of the OIC foreign ministers on the dispute for a very long time now. However, the OIC members countries have overlooked Pakistan and have not convened so far.
The development comes at a time when Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both influential members in the 57-member OIC, are strained. The Saudis who wield a virtual veto in the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries has declined to support Islamabad’s move.
Pakistan’s deteriorating ties with Arab world
The ties between the once long-time allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have deteriorated lately. The relationship which had flourished for a long time now, has turned sour following Pakistan’s deranged behaviour and threats to Saudi Arabia.
The difference between the two long-time allies – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia emerged when the latter refused to side with Pakistan over the Kashmir issue earlier this year. The Kingdom’s reluctance to further Pakistan’s ineterests were visible in February 2020 when Saudi Arabia passed up Pakistan’s request to convene a special meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to get Muslim countries to condemn India on the Kashmir issue.
Ever since India hollowed out Article 370, stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its “separate status”, Pakistan has been demanding on a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to internationalise Jammu and Kashmir and get India to reverse the decision.
Pakistan’s sabre-rattling before Saudi Arabia did not go well
As Saudi Arabia did not take notice of Pakistan’s rants against India, Pakistan had expressed displeasure over the refusal and had also threatened to split Saudi Arabia led OIC. Following the threats, Saudi Arabia, a long time benefactor of Pakistan, decided to overtly penalise the terror-state by cutting aides and grants provided to them.
In August, Saudi Arabia has sought the early repayment of a $3-billion loan provided to the Imran Khan government in 2018 after it was irked by Islamabad’s criticism of Riyadh’s position on the Kashmir issue. After being rebuffed by the Saudi leadership on the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan had made an unsuccessful attempt to forge a new grouping of Islamic countries with Turkey and Malaysia.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia had also decided not to renew an agreement with Pakistan that allowed the supply of crude oil to Pakistan on deferred payments. As per the agreement, there was a provision of oil worth $3.2 billion on deferred payments per annum.
Taking a cue from its neighbour Saudi Arabia, even UAE has begun to act against Pakistan and just recently it also temporarily suspended issuing visas to citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan and some other countries over security concerns. The UAE too has been ignoring Pakistan’s overtures on the Kashmir issue.
Addition to that, the Modi government’s proactive diplomacy and goodwill in the Gulf have acted in favour of India. The Indian government has worked to strengthen ties with countries in West Asia, a major source of energy and home to some nine million expatriates, in the past few years.