Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi has expressed anguish over the failure of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir, for which Pakistan has been persistently pushing the 57 member block of Muslim countries, since India annexed occupied Kashmir last August. In a talk show of a private TV Channel, the Foreign minister, in contrast to his usual sober style of reasoning, was flamboyant while asking Saudi Arabia to demonstrate leadership of the organisation and shun reluctance on calling the CFM meeting on Kashmir. On the contrary UNSC has held its third meeting on Pakistan’s request in a year to discuss the situation arising out of the siege of occupied Kashmir that India has imposed on August 5, 2019.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi renewed his request for this meeting and made it clear if it was not convened then he will be compelled to ask Prime Minister Imran Khan to call a meeting of Islamic countries that are ready to stand with Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir and will never hesitate to support the oppressed Kashmiris. It merits mention that from among non-Arab OIC countries, Turkey, Iran and Malaysia had lent their support to Pakistan by opposing the annexation of occupied Kashmir. The Foreign Minister reminded reminded Saudi Arabia that it was on their request that Pakistan skipped Kuala Lumpur Summit.
Over the past three decades OIC has remained a docile and redundant organisation. It has remained a mere spectator on the atrocities that Israel is perpetrating on Palestinians. It did not take any diplomatic initiative to save Iraq from US led wars and miserably failed to play a positive role to end the civil war in Libya and Syria. Likewise in Saudi-Qatar standoff it remained static. In the US-Iran tension Arab members of OIC have virtually divided the organisation on Arab and Ajam lines.
Market of India and investment opportunities of billions of dollars there are more important for the oil rich Arab countries than supporting Pakistan on Kashmir and taking a bold stand on the marginalisation of 200 million Indian Muslims. It was Dr.Mahatir Mohammad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, who put at risk bilateral trade worth billions of dollars, while condemning the enforcement Citizens Amendment Act, 2019 in India.
The role of OIC on Kashmir dispute has never been an active one. Since the start of Kashmiri Intifada in 1989, serious concern has not been shown on human rights violations in the occupied Kashmir. Likewise, after the revocation of Article 370 of Indian Constitution on August 5 to abolish its special status, the diplomatic response by all OIC member countries was not encouraging, except Turkey Iran and Malaysia. These three countries gave strong and open support to Pakistan’s stance in the aftermath of August 5 actions of Narendra Modi government in Kashmir.
Saudi Arabia, UAE have deep trade relations with India, in addition of plans of huge investment there. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was given special honor to address a gathering of 50,000 Indian Diaspora at Dubai cricket stadium on August 17 2015. No such opportunity had ever been provided even to “Aqama holder” former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Hence, their economic interest takes precedence over lending diplomatic support to Pakistan on Kashmir. The reluctance shown for calling a special OIC meeting on Kashmir amply explains it. In February, Pakistan had made a request for holding an immediate OIC meeting on lockdown imposed in the Indian held Kashmir and human rights violations. The move fizzled out. However, symbolic meetings of the Contact Group did take place at the UN.
Pro-freedom Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani had complained against this attitude of leaders of Islamic countries in SOS like tweet, telling that they will be answerable to Allah the Magnificent on account of remaining silent on the atrocities committed against Kashmiris by India. Pakistan is dependent on the import of oil from Saudi Arabia on deferred payments in addition to acquiring huge loans from it and UAE. It remains to be seen as to whether its pleading is accepted for convening a meeting of OIC CFM.