LAHORE: Though Pakistani Premier Imran Khan and a few of his cabinet colleagues are vying hectically to muster global support following the Indian move to abrogate Article 370 of its Constitution for Jammu & Kashmir, the responses and reactions received from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim nations individually are rather weak.
The nearly 50-year-old OIC, which had behaved like a mere spectator when Israel had annexed the Golan Heights in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War to the sheer dismay of the Palestinians, has issued few statements studded with diplomatic jargon sans any conviction seemingly, not realising perhaps that India is taking a page straight out of the Israeli playbook!
Or, if that is not the case, the Indian trade and business prowess within the OIC member states is relatively too large to be ignored by its trading partners none of whom is currently paying any heed to loud whispers that Narendra Modi does possess the DNA, similar to that of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, to launch an ethnic cleansing campaign in the restive Valley from where shocking images of refugees fleeing their homes, mass graves and concentration camps might soon begin to emerge if the world does not come to rescue the unarmed and starving Kashmiris.
Milosevic’s name became synonymous with ethnic cleansing since he had embarked upon a horrible genocide spree in Bosnia during the early 1990’s.
Or Modi might like to emulate Adolf Hitler, whose reign of terror had claimed lives of around six million Jews alone across the German-occupied Europe between 1941 and 1945.
Here follow a few tweets posted by the OIC on social networking website Twitter in this context:
“The OIC General Secretariat has learnt with concern the reports of curtailment of religious freedoms of Kashmiri Muslims in the Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, including complete lockdown even on the auspicious occasion of Eid, denying Eid Al Adha congregations.”
“In a statement delivered on behalf of the Secretary General, the OIC expressed its deep concern over the critical situation in IoK and condemned the gross human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir; and encouraged the parties for a negotiated settlement.”
“Following a request from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, an urgent meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir at the level of Permanent Representatives was held in Jeddah on August 6, 2019 to review the recent developments in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The OIC also calls upon the international community, including the United Nations and other relevant bodies, to increase efforts for a negotiated settlement of Jammu and Kashmir dispute on the basis of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with 57 member states having a collective population of over 1.8 billion, has further tweeted: “Denial of religious rights constitutes a serious violation of international human rights law & is an affront to Muslims across the world. The OIC urges Indian authorities to ensure the protection of the rights of Kashmiri Muslims & the exercise of their religious rights.”
Remember, 53 of the 57 OIC members are Muslim-majority countries!
It is also imperative to note that during March 2019, India was amused after it was invited as a “Guest of Honor” to participate in the 46th session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting.
UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh, Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as the current chair of the session and the host of the event, had invited India to be the guest of honor in the plenary session on March 1, 2019, the first-ever incident of its kind since OIC’s inception in 1969.
The “Daily Sabah” of Turkey has reported: “The presence of India at the OIC is an explicit indication of a major departure of the Arab world from its traditional stance and the changing stature of India. The content of the invitation stated that the invites were in testimony to India’s growing political and economic stature and Islamic component of its history and civilization. The invitation came when India was mourning the death of 41 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in a horrendous, recent suicide attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir. It was also a time when New Delhi was surrounded by controversy due to the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to India after completing his two-day, high-profile visit to Pakistan, whose hand was suspected in the deadly assault in Kashmir. The invitation was also juxtaposition and a grim reminder of September 1969, when India suffered deep humiliation after Pakistan scuttled India’s invitation to the first OIC Summit in Rabat, Morocco.”
Research shows that the volume of trade between India and the Muslim countries is about $100 billion, so one should not be much surprised if the Arab countries, where over 7 million Indians work, are not as vocal on the Kashmir cause, as they should have been.
On the contrary, Pakistan’s total bilateral trade with Islamic countries is far less.
Pakistan’s total bilateral trade with Islamic countries between 2007 and 2009 had amounted to $44.262 billion, as has not grown much since.
Turkey’s trade volume with India rests at around $7 billion, whereas Pakistan’s total bilateral trade with Turkey was hardly $596.08 million for the year 2017.
The Indo-Saudi bilateral trade reached US$27.48 billion in the financial year 2017–18, up from US$25.1 billion in the preceding year.
On the other hand, the two-way trade volume between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is just US$ 3.6 billion.
While the Indo-Malaysia trade volume was $16.93 billion in 2017-18, Pakistan’s total bilateral trade with Malaysia was just over $1.27 billion in 2017.
Pakistan’s total bilateral trade with Iran rests at around $1.3 billion, while that of India stands at over $13.13 billion.
If Imran Khan shares his concerns with the members of the United Nations Security Council next month in the United States, one wonders if the feeble and ‘run-of-the-mill OIC response on the issue will help Pakistan gain any international support of virtue.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also assured Pakistan of country’s support on issues related to Kashmir.
The Prime Minister House in Islamabad was quoted by a large section of media as saying: “President Erdogan shared the concerns on the developing situation in Kashmir and assured of Turkey’s steadfast support in this regard.”
Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, said he was “keeping a close eye on the situation in J&K.”
Mahathir had reportedly expressed his views over a telephone call with Imran Khan.
The “Star,” a reputed Malaysian newspaper, had reported: “Malaysia has urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint to prevent further escalation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Prime Minister’s Office said it was concerned over the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir, in particular the repeated escalation of tension in the region. “As a close partner to both India and Pakistan, Malaysia places high hopes that the two neighbours will exercise utmost restraint to prevent further escalation that could be detrimental to the peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Malaysia always believes that dialogues and consultations are the best route to a peaceful and amicable solution over this long-standing issue, ” it said in a statement.”
Saudi Arabia has urged restraint and expressed concern over the brewing crisis.
We all know, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco has already struck a $15 billion deal with India’s Reliance Group just days ago.
The UAE-based “Gulf News” has stated: “Saudi Arabia called on the concerned parties in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain peace and stability in the region and to take into account the interests of the people of the region. An official source at the Foreign Ministry said that Saudi Arabia is following up the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting from India’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The source expressed Saudi Arabia’s concern over the latest developments and called for peaceful settlement of the conflict in accordance with the relevant international resolutions.”
The United Arab Emirates downgraded Occupied Kashmir’s status an internal matter of India.
The “Gulf News” quoted the UAE’s ambassador to India, Ahmad Al Banna, as viewing: “We also took note of the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill in the Indian Parliament aimed at replacing Article 370 with the creation of Ladakh region and the state of Jammu and Kashmir as India’s two new Union Territories. We expect that the changes would improve social justice and security and confidence of the people in the local governance and will encourage further stability and peace.”
Meanwhile, the “Live Mint,” an Indian financial daily and a sister concern of “The Hindu” newspaper, said that the UAE’s ambassador to India viewed this latest decision as an internal matter as stipulated by the Indian Constitution.
The Iranian reaction:
The “CNN-News18,” an Indian English-language news television channel based in the state of Uttar Pradesh, said: “The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as part of his outreach to the world leaders to apprise them about the situation in Kashmir, his office said. On Monday, India revoked Article 370 to withdraw the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating the region into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.”
The Indian media house quoted a statement from the Pakistani Premier’s Office:
“The Prime Minister underlined that the actions taken by India in a bid to change the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.”
The “CNN-News18” maintained: “Khan has already called Prime Ministers of the UK and Malaysia, as well as the Turkish President, Saudi Crown Prince and King of Bahrain to apprise them about the Kashmir situation. Prime Minister Khan highlighted the serious risk of massive killings and stressed that the international community must act urgently to prevent the impending calamity, the statement said. He apprised the Iranian leader of Pakistan’s repeated calls and efforts, urging India to resolve the dispute through peaceful means, in accordance with the long-standing UNSC Resolutions, it said.”