King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) of Saudi Arabia with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) at the opening session of a summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on June 1, 2019.(AFP file)
King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) of Saudi Arabia with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) at the opening session of a summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on June 1, 2019.(AFP file)

Pakistan tries to brush off OIC snub on not discussing Kashmir issue

The OIC statements, both in English and Arabic, issued for Friday’s Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Niamey, capital of Niger, made no mention of Kashmir in the agenda announced in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia which is currently leading the grouping.
By Imtiaz Ahmad , edited by Vinod Janardhanan | Hindustan Times, Islamabad
UPDATED ON NOV 26, 2020 07:18 PM IST

Pakistan on Thursday tried to brush aside reports that the Kashmir issue was not part of a foreign ministers’ meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), calling them “part of false Indian propaganda”.

The OIC statements, both in English and Arabic, issued for Friday’s Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Niamey, capital of Niger, made no mention of Kashmir in the agenda announced in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia which is currently leading the grouping. A report in Daily Dawn newspaper said the latest omission comes at a time when ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and UAE remain strained over what Pakistani diplomats say are “unfulfilled expectations”.

But foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri told a weekly press briefing that the Kashmir issue was a “permanent item” on the OIC agenda.

He said Friday’s would be the first CFM meeting after India revoked Kashmir’s special status in August last year.

“It is expected that the session would reiterate its strong support to the Kashmir cause. Let me confirm that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute continue (s) to be amongst the longest standing items on the OIC agenda,” he insisted.

The spokesperson also said that OIC has been “unambiguously pronouncing itself on the issue for decades, through a succession of summit as well as CFM resolutions.”

He insisted that the OIC had spoken on the Kashmir issue multiple times and has “called for a settlement [...] with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions”.

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir has met thrice in the past 15 months, Chaudhri said, adding that a meeting of the group with foreign ministers was held in June this year.

“The final communique of that meeting called upon India to rescind its illegal actions and stop egregious human rights violations in the illegally occupied territory,” he said.

Pakistan is being represented at the meeting by foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who left Islamabad on Wednesday for participating in the OIC meeting.

Before leaving for Niger, Qureshi told journalists he would raise the Kashmir issue and Islamophobia at the two-day meeting.

“I will focus on the Kashmir issue and Islamophobia at the meeting. We will discuss the issues faced by the Muslim Ummah (nation) at the meeting,” he said.

The foreign minister said that on the sidelines of the meeting, he will also hold bilateral parleys with his counterparts from the Islamic countries. “The OIC members will give their positions on the international issues and efforts would be made to evolve a joint stand by the Muslim-majority countries,” he added.

In August, Qureshi had asked the OIC to “stop dilly-dallying” on the convening of a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir, angering the grouping’s Saudi leadership.

“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,” he had said at the time.

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