The OIC had their latest meeting in Makkah, Saudi Arabia at the end of last month. The meeting was called by Saudi Arabia to solicit support from the group against Iran, which continues to be a major challenger to Saudi Arabia. The final communique issued on 31st May had a reference to Kashmir, on which India objected.
The reference stated the ‘grouping’s support for the legitimate rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.’ India objected stating that the ‘OIC has no locus standi in matters relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, and OIC should refrain from making such unwarranted references.’
The 57 member nations grouping also approved Saudi Arabia’s Yousef Aldobeay as its special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir. India again raised its objections on similar grounds. This decision comes three months after the last meeting in the UAE when India was a special invitee and the Pak foreign minister refused to attend. It is likely that present tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the role of the Pak army in supporting Saudi Arabia could have led to these comments.
The reason given for their support to Kashmir is that it was concerned about Kashmiris who are Moslems and it is their role to protect them. A hypocritical statement from a hypocritical organization.
The OIC has generally been ignored and considered only an irritant,across the globe, because their joint statements have been selective at best. There has never been a mention of attacks on minority communities, including of Moslems, within their own nations or the treatment of Moslems by other nations like China. They have on the other hand questioned nations like India where religious freedom and liberty for all religions to flourish is far better than their own group nations.
In Saudi Arabia, dissents like Jamal Khashoggi, an activist against the present regime, had been brutally hacked to death within the precincts of their Embassy in Turkey and his body disposed of. Despite international pressure, no action has been taken against those who ordered his killing or those who carried it out. In addition, opponents and advocates for changing the present culture have been jailed and tortured for the flimsiest of reasons. Minority Shia community members are arrested, jailed, tried and executed in public for even posting anti-government posts on social media.
In Pakistan, the blasphemy law is employed at will to subdue minorities and their underage children kidnapped and forcibly married. No action is taken against the offenders because forcible conversion is converted to willing conversion. The minority Shia and Ahmadi population are targeted by terrorist groups across the country, without even a word of criticism from the Government.
The brutality displayed by the Pak army against its own Baluch and Pashtun population is well documented. The recent BBC report on the same, based on detailed research, is being dubbed as fake and ‘a pack of lies.’ The DG ISPR statement read, the story ‘carries conjecturing implicating Pakistan Army without any proof’, adding that the report is ‘in violation of journalistic ethos’.The truth is in the report.
The recent incident in North Waziristan, when the Pak army fired on peaceful protestors is the latest in its brutality. It claimed three dead, whereas the reality is thirteen innocents were killed. There is no record of thousands of missing Baluch and Pashtun people, rapes and plunder. This has led to an uprising, which it struggles to subdue.
Similarly, in China, over a million Muslims in Xinjiang have been interred in concentration like camps, officially termed as ‘vocational training centres.’ They are being forced to denounce their religion and eat pork. The Chinese defence minister, General Wei Fenghe, defended this action during the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore recently, stating, ‘People’s quality of life [in Xinjiang] has improved and they enjoy secure and stable lives.’
When Imran was fielded questions on the maltreatment of Muslims by China, he stated that he had no idea and would not discuss it as it would hurt Chinese government sentiments.He even refused to discuss the case of missing wives of Chinese traders in Xinjiang who are presently in these camps. On the other hand, when Chinese President, Xi Jinping, sent a message to the summit on enhancing cooperation between China and Islamic countries, all OIC members were jumping over one another to praise China.
Israel, which was always criticised in every OIC meeting for its handling of Palestine, has now been left out of the statements, mainly because of its growing proximity to Saudi Arabia and increased enmity with Iran, hence is almost an ally.
The same OIC, while stating the pitfalls of Islamophobia and blaming it for the attack on the Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, maintain a studied silence on calls for Jihad emanating from honoured state guests of the deep state in Pakistan, who are designated global terrorists. Masood Azar and Hafiz Saeed continuously call for Jihad, which is even worse than Islamophobia, yet there is silence.
The OIC blames India for its highhandedness in Kashmir, ignoring the murderous air assaults of the Saudi led coalition, targeting innocents in Yemen, which the UN describes as the worst human catastrophe in recent times. These strikes have killed countless innocent civilians and children, yet its actions are supported rather than criticised.
Clearly, over the years, the OIC has become an organization of members which follow duplicity in their attitude and behaviour, supporting anti-national activities in some parts of the globe and when nations act against such activities they are condemned and criticised. Its selective actions have made an organization, which should have been the voice of Muslims around the world, into a defunct coffee shop, whose words have lost meaning and whose statements bear no relevance.
It has done nothing for the Muslim community, either in criticizing nations which intern innocents, nor by volunteering to adopt some of stranded thousands of Muslim migrants from trouble spots in West Asia and Africa, stuck in various parts of Europe. The worst crimes on Muslims is perpetuated by its own members. It remains an organization which can only shout from rooftops but would never be heard or respected, unless it reinvents itself. India should have ignored the remarks and nomination of an envoy for Kashmir, rather than wasting time even criticizing it.
(The author is former Major General)