OIC and Saudi Arabia’s U-turn on Kashmir

Lalit Shastri

Riyadh has taken a u-turn by agreeing to call for a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (IOC) foreign ministers to discuss Kashmir situation especially keeping in focus the withdrawal of special status to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Recently, Saudi Arabia had intervened to dissuade Pakistan from attending the Conference of Islamic nations in Malaysia and the outcome was that Pakistan did not attend the Kuala Lampur Summit. Saudi intervention in this matter gave a positive signal that Riyadh was not prepared to allow Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi to use the OIC as a forum to continue with his tirade against India on the Kashmir issue just as he had done at the United Nations General Assembly.

After a short interval, now there are reports that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, while in Islamabad, conveyed to his Pakistani counetrpart foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi that a meeting of OIC foreign ministers will be convened to discuss Kashmir.

The motto of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is “The Collective Voice of the Muslim World”. The organisation boasts about itself as the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.

As the collective voice of the Muslim world OIC proclaims that “it endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.”

The very preamble of OIC smacks of a sectarian approach that unites and also segregates only on the basis of religion. When OIC talks of the “Muslim World” and the 1.5 billion Muslim population spread across the globe, it not only negates the spirit of universal brotherhood and inclusive society but also tries to wield some kind of leverage to interfere in the internal matters of other countries. This is exactly what will happen when OIC would convene a meeting on Kashmir. Saudi Arabia should be told in categorical terms by India that Kashmir is an internal matter of India.

China has repeatedly tried to raise the Kashmir issue at the United Nations Security Council but every time Russia has vetoed the move. As a result, China could do nothing except put up the matter for a closed-door informal deliberation at the UNSC.

One could draw an analogy with China’s attempt to raise the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. After failing to raise the Kashmir matter at the Conference of Islamic Nations at Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan has managed to get the Saudi assurance for an OIC foreign ministers meeting on Kashmir, the schedule for which is yet to be announced.


OIC talks of itself as “the organization (that) has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body and have actively represented the Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world”.

Ummah means the whole community of Muslims bound together by ties of religion.

OIC proclaims – “The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.

The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969) following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.”

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is formed by the following countries:

Republic of AZERBAIJAN, Kingdom of JORDAN, Islamic Republic of AFGHANISTAN, Republic of ALBANIA, The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Republic of INDONESIA, Republic of UZBEKISTAN, Republic of UGANDA, Islamic Republic of IRAN, Islamic Republic of PAKISTAN, Kingdom of BAHRAIN, BRUNEI-DARUSSALAM, People’s Republic of BANGLADESH, Republic of BENIN, BURKINA-FASO, Republic of TAJIKISTAN, Republic of TURKEY, Turkmenistan, Republic of CHAD, Republic of TOGO, Republic of TUNISIA, People’s Democratic Republic of ALGERIA, Republic of DJIBOUTI, Kingdom of SAUDI ARABIA, Republic of SENEGAL, Republic of The SUDAN, SYRIAN Arab Republic, Republic of SURINAME, Republic of SIERRA LEONE, Republic of SOMALIA, Republic of IRAQ, Sultanate of OMAN, Republic of GABON, Republic of The Gambia, Republic of GUYANA, Republic of GUINEA, Republic of GUINEA-BISSAU, State of PALESTINE, Union of The COMOROS, KYRGYZ Republic, State of QATAR, Republic of KAZAKHSTAN, Republic of CAMEROON, Republic of COTE D’IVOIRE, State of KUWAIT, Republic of LEBANON, Libya, Republic of MALDIVES, Republic of MALI, MALAYSIA, rab Republic of EGYPT, Kingdom of MOROCCO, Islamic Republic of MAURITANIA, Republic of MOZAMBIQUE, Republic of NIGER, Federal Republic of NIGERIA, Republic of YEMEN.

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