OIC decides to convene special meeting on Kashmir issue in Pakistan

Dunya News

The meeting is expected to also include UAE, Bahrain, Turkey, Indonesia, Qatar and other countries.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Saudi Arabia on Saturday assured to convene a special meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the ongoing atrocities in occupied Kashmir in Islamabad.

According to sources, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the request of Prime Minsiter Imran Khan assured to hold a meeting of OIC pertaining to Kashmir matter in April 2020 through Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, who toured the country on December 26.

The meeting is expected to also include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Turkey, Indonesia, Qatar and other countries.

The foremost priority of the meeting will be the current situation in the occupied valley, which will be followed by controversial citizenship bill in India and also to shed light on the matter about protecting the rights of Muslim countries. The OIC FM meeting has been given a special status after the Kuala Lumpur Summit which took place earlier this month in Malaysia.

Muslim countries were expressing reservations on the less active role of the OIC, due to which the KL summit was seen as an alternative platform. Saudi Arabia has decided to mobilize the OIC.  

Saudi Foreign Minister visits Pakistan after KL Summit

On Dec 26, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where both discussed bilateral relations.

The Foreign Minister warmly welcomed the Saudi Foreign Minister on his maiden visit to Pakistan. During the detailed deliberations, the entire gamut of bilateral relations was covered and views were exchanged on regional developments.

The Foreign Minister underscored that the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is deep-rooted and long-standing. He recalled his earlier visit to the Kingdom on December 10 and 11, and thanked the warm hospitality extended to him.

He focused on issues of mutual interest including bilateral trade and economic cooperation, security and defence cooperation, parliamentary exchanges and increased trade relations.

The Foreign Minister also highlighted the importance of Saudi investments, particularly in the petrochemical, mining & minerals and energy sectors. He also expressed the hope that the Road-to-Makkah project to facilitate Hajis from Pakistan will be extended to other cities of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister dilated in detail on the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) in the aftermath of India’s unilateral and illegal actions of 5 August 2019. He also highlighted the Indian Government’s actions with regard to CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act 2019) and NRC (National Register of Citizens) and the systematic targeting of minorities in India, particularly Muslims. The Foreign Minister thanked the Kingdom’s support in OIC Contact Group on Jammu & Kashmir.

Prince Faisal also underscored the importance that Saudi Arabia attaches to its fraternal and strategic relationship with Pakistan. He conveyed the Saudi leadership’s deep appreciation for the role played by Pakistan in maintaining regional peace and stability. Adding that Saudi Arabia was committed to a strong, prosperous and successful Pakistan, he reaffirmed the commitment of Saudi leadership in cementing ties with Pakistan in all fields. The two Foreign Ministers discussed OIC’s role in the advancement of the cause of Kashmir.

The two Foreign Ministers had earlier met in Riyadh. The visit of the Saudi Foreign Minister to Pakistan is a reflection of the growing bilateral relations and part of regular exchange of high-level visits between the two fraternal countries. Foreign Minister hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary.

Prince Faisal also called on the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Turkish President asserts KSA pressurized Pakistan not to attend KL Summit

On Dec 21, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Saudi Arabia pressured Pakistan not to attend a summit for Muslim leaders in Malaysia this week, adding it was not the first time that Riyadh had threatened Islamabad.

According to media reports, regarding the absence of Pakistan and Indonesia at the summit, the president said he would have liked to have seen them present as well.

When it comes to Saudi Arabia’s and United Arab Emirates (UAE) effect in this absence, Erdogan stated that this is not a first for the countries since they have the tendency to put pressure on other countries in doing or not doing things.

“Unfortunately, we see that Saudi Arabia pressures Pakistan. Now, there are promises that the country has given to Pakistan regarding the central bank. However, more than that, there are 4 million Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia. They (threaten by saying that they) would send (Pakistanis) back and re-employ Bangladeshi people instead,” Erdogan said, adding that the kingdom has also used similar threatening tactics regarding the central bank case by claiming that they would withdraw their money.

Erdogan further said that due to its economic difficulties, Pakistan had to obey such threats, while implying that Indonesia has also suffered from similar problems.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had cancelled the visit after being summoned to Saudi Arabia for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Leaders and senior representatives from some 20 Muslim nations have gathered in Kuala Lumpur this week to discuss issues agitating Muslims globally.

Explaining its decision to stay away, Saudi Arabia said the summit was the wrong forum for matters of importance to the world s 1.75 billion Muslims. However, some analysts suspect the kingdom feared being diplomatically isolated by regional rivals Iran, Qatar and Turkey, who are attending.

International platform

Khan is thought to have been among the original leaders who suggested that the Kuala Lumpur summit take place, during talks with Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The prime minister had telephoned Mahathir to inform him of his decision not to attend.

The Kuala Lumpur summit describes itself as "an international platform for Muslim leaders, intellectuals and scholars from around the world to discuss and exchange ideas about the issues revolving in the Muslim world".

Saudi Arabia is understood to have been concerned that moves might have begun at the Malaysia summit to form a new body to replace the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Jeddah.

Mahathir, at 94 the world s oldest prime minister, has denied those accusations.

Saudi Arabia rejects reports of exerting pressure on Pakistan to withdraw from KL Summit

On Dec 21, Saudi Arabia has denied reports circulating on the media that the Kingdom had pressurised Pakistan to withdraw participation from the Kuala Lumpur Summit in Malaysia.

In a press release issued by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan, it termed “the news promoted by some parties about alleged pressures exerted on Pakistan by the Kingdom to discourage it from participating in the mini-summit held in Malaysia” as “baseless and fake.”

It further stressed that “these false reports are already denied by the nature of solid brotherly relations between the two brotherly countries, and their agreement on the importance of the unity of the Islamic nation, maintaining the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), mutual respect for their sovereignty and the independence of their decisions, which is a key feature of the well-established historical relations between them.”

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir had shared his plans with Pakistan for holding the summit when he met Prime Minister Imran along with Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York in September this year.

Later, PM Khan formally conveyed his acceptance of the invitation for attending the summit when Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia Marzuki Bin Haji Yahya called on him in Islamabad on Nov. 29.

In mid December, however, reports of PM Imran cancelling his trip to Malaysia began circulating in the media. After his visit to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the premier decided to stay away from the Kuala Lumpur summit.

According to reports, he withdrew due to pressure exerted by the kingdom, which had extended a helping hand to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government during its early days to stave off an economic crisis.

Foreign Office breaks silence on absence of Pakistan from KL Summit

On Dec 20, Foreign Office Spokesperson Ayesha Farooqui stated that Pakistan did not participate in the KL Summit as time and efforts were needed to address the concerns of major Muslim countries regarding possible division in the Ummah.

She asserted that Pakistan will continue to work for the unity and solidarity of the Ummah, which is indispensable for effectively addressing the challenges faced by the Muslim world.