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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

OIC fails Kashmir: Can Pakistan and Turkey create an alternative bloc?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister has categorically said that the country would be ready to go for a session outside OIC if Saudi Arabia does not care about ‘out own sensitivities’. He also clarified that Pakistan skipped Kuala Lumpur Summit last December on Saudi request and now Pakistani Muslims are demanding of Riyadh to “show leadership on the issue”.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister and leader of the ruling party, has strictly warned the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday to stop delaying tactics on the convening of a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir. The FM made it clear that if OIC cannot stand by Pakistan on Kashmir, we can move on. The statement is being seen as an unusual move by the Pakistani FM who is known for his diplomatic skills across the world. In a strongly-worded statement in a private TV show, he demanded the Muslim world to come together and listen to the people of Kashmir.

Notably, one week ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured his country’s support for Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue in a conversation with President Arif Alvi.

The Turkish leader also called Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Eidul Azha and the two leaders shared their views on a range of issues.

“President Dr Arif Alvi and President Erdogan exchanged Eidul Azha greetings in a telephonic conversation. Important matters including Kashmir and Covid-19 were discussed,” a tweet by Alvi’s office said.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states. The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony”.

The foreign minister said: “I am once again respectfully telling OIC that a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers is our expectation. If you cannot convene it, then I’ll be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of the Islamic countries that are ready to stand with us on the issue of Kashmir and support the oppressed Kashmiris.”

Mr Qureshi said that if OIC cannot stand by Pakistan, Pakistan would be ready to go for a session outside OIC. In response to another question, he said Pakistan could not wait any further.

Pakistan has been pushing for the foreign ministers’ meeting of the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries, which is the second-largest intergovernmental body after the UN, since India annexed occupied Kashmir last August.

Read More: Pakistan threatens alternative bloc if Kashmir issue not highlighted by OIC

The occupied valley has seen at least 229 killings during more than 100 military operations since January 2020, according to a recently released report by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). From January 1 to June 30, the region witnessed the extrajudicial executions of at least 32 civilians and the killing of 54 armed forces personnel, the report stated.

Analysts believe that the underlying idea behind strict implementation of the draconian laws and state high-headedness is to transform Kashmir’s Muslim majority into Hindu majority so that it could be technically taken over. As a matter of fact, new laws by new Delhi allowing outsiders to hold properties and jobs with 25000 domicile certificates already granted suggest a concerted effort to change the demographics of Indians only Muslim majority state.

Saudi Arabia should care about our sensitivities, FM

A major reason behind the failure to call the foreign ministers’ meeting has been Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to accept Pakistan’s request for one specifically on Kashmir. Riyadh’s support is crucial for any move at the OIC, which is dominated by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

As OIC cannot stand by Pakistan, Mr Qureshi made it clear that Pakistan skipped Kuala Lumpur Summit last December on Saudi request and now Pakistani Muslims are demanding of Riyadh to “show leadership on the issue”.

“We have our own sensitivities. You have to realize this. Gulf countries should understand this,” the foreign minister said, adding that he could no more indulge in diplomatic niceties.

Read More: OIC wants halt to Kashmir abuse by India

Mr Qureshi made it clear that he was not being emotional and fully understood the implications of his statement. “It’s right, I’m taking a position despite our good ties with Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Are Muslim-majority countries abandoning Modi’s India?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim political strategy to win the hearts of Hindu extremists at home has become a diplomatic disaster for India. Recently, Professor Christophe Jaffrelot, a senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at King’s India Institute, London, and Haider Abbas Rizvi, an Uttar Pradesh-based Information Commissioner, wrote an article for The Indian Express to highlight what India has lost as a result of the incumbent government’s anti-Muslim policies.

The authors argue that “Muslim countries with which India had increasingly good relations have become less friendly,” but, at the same time, Pakistan was able to seek diplomatic support in order to present its case for Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK).

Read More: India gives a shut up call to OIC on Kashmir

Muslim countries including Bangladeshi, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Indonesia, argues Professor Jaffrelot, have expressed severe reservations over what is going on in India. These repeated calls to New Delhi to review its policies and strong-worded condemnation uncover the reality India is facing at the international front under an RSS-inspired Prime Minister.

Political commentators believe that a change in the policy of the Muslim countries is the result of PM Imran Khan’s repeated efforts to draw their attention to what is happening in India. Under the current circumstance, if OIC cannot stand by Pakistan, the country is expected to look for other options.