New Delhi says that though OIC has made no official announcement or issued any confirmation of the meeting yet, these meetings on Kashmir at OIC “keep happening” …. Writes Aarti Tikoo Singh
Even as Pakistan is trumpeting that it has secured a diplomatic win by prevailing on Saudi Arabia to hold a special session on Kashmir at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in April 2020, such meetings have been a regular feature.
Sources in New Delhi said that though OIC has made no official announcement or issued any confirmation of the meeting yet, these meetings on Kashmir at OIC “keep happening”.
As it is, such discussions or resolutions on Kashmir at OIC “have had no impact on Saudi-India relationship or for that matter India’s relationship with other member countries of the OIC,” an official of the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Radio Pakistan earlier reported that the Pakistani officials had discussed holding the meeting of ministers of the OIC grouping of Muslim majority countries to focus on the “human rights situation in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and enactment of an anti-Muslim law in India”. The report added that the ministerial meeting “is expected to be held in Islamabad in April 2020.”
The General Secretariat of the OIC earlier issued a statement said it has been closely following recent developments affecting Muslim minority in India.
OIC expresses its concern over the recent developments pertaining to both the issue of citizenship rights and the Babri Masjid case. It reiterates its call to ensure the safety of the Muslim minority and the protection of Islamic holy places in India.
The General Secretariat reaffirms the crucial importance of upholding the principles and obligations enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and relevant international covenants that guarantee the rights of minorities without any discrimination.
“In this regard, any action, contrary to these principles and obligations, may lead to further tensions and may have serious implications on peace and security across the region,” the statement added.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been campaigning around the world against India ever since the Narendra Modi government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August this year. Recently, Khan was forced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamad Bin Salman to cancel his trip to Malaysia where he intended to slam India over Kashmir at the Islamic Summit hosted by the Mahathir Mohamad government in Malaysia.
Riyadh took serious offence to the summit where it was not invited and perceived it as a challenge to its leadership in the Muslim world by Turkey, Malaysia and Pakistan. The Saudi Kingdom threatened to withdraw its massive aid to Pakistan, already reeling under an economic crisis, if Prime Minister Khan participated in it, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed in Kuala Lumpur after the summit.
“Ever since Pakistan has been involved in a damage control exercise with Riyadh,” a source based in Islamabad said.
“Pakistani media has been bragging that the Khan government persuaded the Kingdom to hold a foreign ministers meeting of OIC countries. But that is hardly a concession. It is only for domestic consumption to appease his constituency in Pakistan,” he said.
In fact, the OIC held an emergency meeting on Kashmir soon after India reorganized the Jammu and Kashmir state into two union territories on August 5 and has issued four statements on Kashmir since.
The meeting was chaired by OIC Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Samir Bakr Diab and attended by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and the Permanent Representatives of Azerbaijan, Niger, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
In one of the statements, though the OIC backed Pakistan’s request for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Kashmir, the OIC refrained from criticizing India over the revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The UNSC member, China’s move to hold a meeting on Kashmir however was vetoed by other members who agreed only for a private discussion. Recently, Beijing’s another bid on behalf of Pakistan for a private discussion on Kashmir was also thwarted.
The OIC instead has asked the international community to resolve the Kashmir issue peacefully through a plebiscite under the UN resolutions. The first condition of the UN resolutions, incidentally, is that Pakistan withdraws from the parts of Jammu and Kashmir it occupied in 1947.
However, none of the OIC statements had any impact on the Saudi-India relations. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Riyadh in October this year, second time in last three years and met the Crown Prince five times.
The outcome of the meetings was strategic partnership pact between the two countries, making India fourth country after France, the UK and China to earn such a significant status in Riyadh. India is a major importer of oil from Saudi Arabia.