FO says Pakistan has more expectations from OIC on Kashmir

August 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Office sent a clear message to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on Thursday and said that Pakistan and its people have more expectations from the OIC than from...

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Foreign Office sent a clear message to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday and said that Pakistan and its people have more expectations from the OIC than from any other international organisation because of its deep rooted and fraternal ties with member states.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi caused eyebrows to be raised when surprisingly he appeared impatient with the OIC and clearly told it to stop playing for time as it was essential to convene a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers on Kashmir.

It was during a TV interview that Qureshi clearly told the Saudi Arabia-led OIC, “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.”

In an unusually angry tone, Pakistan’s top diplomat said that if the OIC would continue to drag its feet then he would strongly recommend to Prime Minister Imran Khan that it was time to summon a session outside the OIC.

For quite some time now, Pakistanis have been critical about the indifferent attitude of the OIC which has failed the people of Kashmir as most of the 57 nation states in OIC have strong trade ties with India and some of them have awarded Indian Prime Minister Modi with highest civil awards.

Supporting the stand of the foreign minister, spokesperson at the Foreign Office to a query responded, “The statement made by the foreign minister was a reflection of people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to take forward the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir internationally.”

The foreign minister clearly pointed to Saudi Arabia which has been behind the reluctance of calling the foreign ministers session on Kashmir so as not to annoy India.

In retaliation, Qureshi recalled how just to please Saudi Arabia. Pakistan backed out of an agreed meeting at Kuala Lumpur Summit last year.

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

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. “We cannot stay silent anymore on the sufferings of the Kashmiris,” he said.

Pointing to the reason for this disunity, Qureshi said that the OIC has no voice because there was total disunity amongst them. Only Turkey, Malaysia and Iran have spoken up for Kashmir, he said.

At the regular media briefing, the spokesperson said that Pakistan is a founding member of the OIC. “We have had longstanding fraternal and cooperative relations with the OIC member states. Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Palestine are two key issues on the agenda of the OIC since its inception,” the spokesperson said.

“Three meetings of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir have been convened during the last one year, two of which were at ministerial level and issued strong ministerial communiqués deploring the grave violations of the human rights in IOJ&K, demanding from India to rescind its illegal and unilateral actions of August 05, 2019, and calling for the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council’s Resolutions,” she said. “The people of Pakistan have more expectations from the OIC and would like it to play a leading role in raising the Jammu and Kashmir issue internationally. In this regard, our efforts will continue and we hope there will be further forward movement,” the spokesperson added.

The spokesperson to a query said that on Pakistan’s request the UNSC in its meeting Wednesday discussed the situation of Jammu and Kashmir for the third time in a year. The Security Council reaffirmed the validity of its resolutions that the final disposition of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute will be made through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations.

“The UN Secretariat and UNMOGIP representatives briefed the Council members on the current situation in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and confirmed that the overall situation is tense. Human rights concerns were also expressed particularly with regard to India’s continued oppression as well its attempts to change the demography of the IOJ&K. The need to strengthen UNMOGIP which is facing challenges due to India’s non cooperation was also underscored,” she said.

Pakistan says it is grateful to all the members of the UNSC and especially China for their support in organising the meeting in the UNSC.

“The fact that on three occasions in one year the Jammu and Kashmir issue has been discussed in the Security Council completely negates the failed Indian assertions that it is its internal matter,” said the spokesperson.

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