Saudi Arabia Denies Pakistan’s Request, No Special Meeting on Kashmir in the OIC

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In what comes as a major setback for Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has refused to hold a stand-alone OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Kashmir. The meeting of the senior officials of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is scheduled from February 9 in Jeddah. 

Saudi Arabia had expressed reluctance in accommodating Pakistan’s request for an immediate meeting on Kashmir. During his visit to Malaysia, Khan expressed his disappointment over OIC’s silence on the issue while speaking at a think tank. He said, “The reason is that we have no voice and there is a total division amongst [us]. We can’t even come together as a whole on the OIC meeting on Kashmir.” 

Pakistan has been aggressively demanding a foreign ministers’ meeting of the 57 member international organisation of Muslim Countries. The OIC is an influential international body and is the second-largest intergovernmental body after the UN. However, the OIC has held one meeting of the contact group on Kashmir on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. It has further released a report written by OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission on the abuses of the Human Rights conventions in India-held Kashmir. 

The Dawn reported that a Senior Official on February 6 said that while the OIC was expected to pass the “usual” resolutions on Kashmir, there is no special focus on, “the plight of Kashmiris, who have been enduring lockdown that is now in its 185th day since the abrogation of Article 370,”

Saudi Arabia, which is the most influential member of the OIC has remained neutral on the issue of Kashmir since August 5, when India decided to abrogate Article 370 and consequently remove the special status granted to the state. UAE, on the other hand, has taken the stand that the decision remains a matter of domestic policy and is internal, not subject to foreign scrutiny. 

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