By Asad Ali
The 48th meeting of the 57th –member body, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has come to an end in Islamabad with debates and declaration on key issues faced by Muslim countries across the globe. It was an international event painting a good image of Pakistan bringing it into the limelight of worldwide media particularly in the context of Kashmir. The moot was attended by the foreign ministers of forty six countries whereas the rest of the countries sent their envoys in the conference. OIC undoubtedly is one of the prestigious international forums with its strong voice in the global community. As many as 800 delegations witnessed the meeting convened by Islamabad with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as special guest in the conference. It is for the first time when a senior Chinese official has been invited to participate in the OIC meeting which indicates Beijing’s expanding role in the Muslim countries. Although OIC is dubbed as a defunct organization still it has a significance importance in the political arena of Muslim world.
It is a great diplomatic achievement for Pakistan to host the OIC meeting of foreign ministers from March 22-23 in Islamabad amid the prevailing political and economic uncertainty. It is indeed an honor for Pakistan to host this summit during the 75th anniversary celebrations of Pakistan’s Day falling on 23rd of March every year. The OIC summit comes when the political regime in Pakistan is facing two major challenges firstly the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition parties and secondly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expecting an explanation from Pakistan on how it would fund a USD 1.5 billion subsidy package promised by the Prime Minister khan. The sources say that Pakistan will have to undertake fiscal tightening measures to pass its last IMF review. Though it seemed difficult on certain occasions to hold this meeting in Pakistan but as they say all’s well that ends well—the guests came and OIC Council of Foreign Minister’s (OIC-CFM) session was successfully launched without any hindrance.
OIC adopted 70-Points in its Islamabad meeting covering all major issues in Islamic countries. The meeting agenda also discuss in details the issues pertaining to Afghanistan, African and European Muslims. It also rejected the Islam phobia narratives maintaining that Islam is a peaceful religion and any individual act of intolerance and violence should not be associated with religion. In addition to this, developments in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and the Sahel region, Chad, Central Africa and the Republic of Guinea were specially taken up in the agenda of the meeting.
Pakistan enjoys a win-win situation viz-a-viz OIC meeting as its concerns over recent developments in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) has been rectified and the
support has been once again reaffirmed by OIC on Jammu and Kashmir. OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha was quoted as saying in a media brief “The question of Jammu and Kashmir was thoroughly discussed. This is a just cause. It has our full support. The conference reaffirmed our stance and reiterated our support for the right of Kashmiri people for self-determination.” OIC-CFM further vowed its support for the cause of Palestine both regions being glaring examples of injustice, oppression, occupation and human rights violations. It is also a great achievement of Pakistan that this forum condemned the human rights violations in the IIOJK rejecting India’s illegal and unilateral actions by abrogating the special status of Kashmir since August 5, 2019. It is a good sign that a ministerial committee would work with other states to take concrete measures on Kashmir beyond resolutions and chart the way forward. The government of Pakistan also needs to establish a desk or make sure for appointment of a focal person in its foreign office with the objective to provide evidential support to this committee and for formulation of the action plan. The OIC contact group on Occupied Kashmir should work for the cause of oppressed Kashmiris beyond lip service and make sure that the support extended by this group paves way for their inalienable right to self-determination. The OIC Forum maintained that final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute is only possible through compliance of UN Security Council’s resolutions indispensible for durable peace in South Asia. The OIC reiterated that India should reverse its unilateral and illegal measures instituted since 5th August 2019, cease its oppression and human rights violations against the Kashmiris, halt and reverse attempts to alter the demographic structure a, to redraw electoral constituencies in IIOJK and to take concrete and meaningful steps for full implementation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. It is also a big diplomatic win for Pakistan that the OIC foreign ministers also showed concerns over Indian missile hitting inside Pakistan on March 9 and supported the Pakistani demand for a joint probe. It is also a matter of pride that OIC member countries have expressed their solidarity with the people of Pakistan and this summit has refuted the notion that Pakistan has been alienated in the world community. This is an excellence achievement in the arena of diplomatic and external relations giving a strong message to the enemies of Pakistan.
In Ukraine conflict, PM Imran Khan wisely suggested OIC to mediate in Ukraine conflict and play its role in de-escalating the situation. The West’s stance about the Ukraine has been biased and based upon one side of the story. OIC members have healthy ties with West and Russia. Therefore, they can play crucial role in this regard and they must come forward. As far as West is concerned, it should not bully or threatened Russia if it is serious about ending the conflict. If it continues to bully Russia, Moscow has legitimate right to defend itself at any cost by using its military might.
*The writer is Islamabad based expert of South Asian Affairs