ISLAMABAD: The Kashmir dispute has not been included in the agenda of the two-day meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) being held in Niger’s capital Niamey from Friday.
The OIC statements, both in English and Arabic, made no specific mention of Kashmir in the agenda announced in Riyadh.
OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al-Othaimeen was quoted in the official statement as having said that the meeting would discuss the Palestinian cause, the fight against violence, extremism and terrorism, Islamophobia and defamation of religion, the situation of Muslim minorities and communities in non-member states, fundraising for the Rohingya case at the International Court of Justice, as well as the promotion of dialogue among civilisations, cultures and religions, and other emerging matters.
The agenda of the Niamey meeting also includes discussion on the political, humanitarian, economic, social and cultural and other issues related to science and technology, the media and the progress made in the implementation of the “OIC-2025: Plan of Action” document. It would, moreover, feature a brainstorming session on “Security and Humanitarian Challenges Confronting African Sahel States Members of the OIC”.
Pakistan’s request for a meeting of the contact group on the issue also declined
Pakistan has since the annexation of occupied Kashmir by India been demanding a special meeting of the OIC foreign ministers on the dispute. The meeting has not been convened so far because the Saudis, who wield a virtual veto in the 57-member bloc of Muslim countries, has not supported Islamabad’s move.
The latest omission of Kashmir from the agenda of the regular foreign ministers’ meeting comes at a time when ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia/UAE remain strained over what Pakistani diplomats say are “unfulfilled expectations”.
A diplomatic source separately said that this time OIC Contact Group on Kashmir would not meet either. The hosts declined a Pakistani request for a meeting on the pretext of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi left Islamabad on Wednesday for participating in the OIC meeting.
The Foreign Office said Mr Qureshi would highlight the aggravating human rights situation in occupied Kashmir after last year’s annexation and introduction of measures to change the demographic structure of the Muslim-majority and disputed region.
Iftikhar A. Khan adds: The foreign minister, meanwhile, wrote a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council and the secretary general, urging the Security Council to exercise its direct responsibility to prevent India from perpetrating its criminal colonial project to change the demographic structure of the disputed territory.
The letter also calls for securing the implementation of the UN resolutions which recognise Kashmiris’ legitimate right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020