India at OIC: Pak calls for meeting of Contact Group

Last Updated 25 February 2019, 16:05 IST

Pakistan has called for an emergency meeting of the “Contact Group” on Kashmir within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to drum up support in response to United Arab Emirates' invitation to India to attend a meeting of the bloc as a “Guest of Honour”.

The meeting of the “OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir” will be held at the 57-nation-bloc's secretariat at Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. The contact group comprises Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Niger, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Pakistan nudged the OIC secretariat to call for the emergency meeting of the “Contact Group on J&K”, soon after New Delhi announced that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would attend the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the bloc's Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi on March 1 as “Guest of Honour”, sources in New Delhi said.

Swaraj was invited by her UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who would host the OIC Foreign Ministers' meet in Abu Dhabi.

The invitation by UAE opened up an opportunity for India to present its views before the OIC Foreign Ministers at a time when its tension with Pakistan escalated in the wake of the recent killing of over 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir. Swaraj is expected to use the opportunity to articulate India’s stand on terrorism as well as on the issue of Kashmir to counter the narrative spun by Pakistan, sources in New Delhi said.

India is not a member of the OIC, but Pakistan has been a founding member of the bloc, which calls itself the “collective voice” of 1.8 billion Muslims of the world. Pakistan has long been using the organization as a forum to slam India on the issue of Kashmir, particularly on alleged human rights violations by Indian Army and paramilitary forces.

The UAE's invitation to India to the OIC meet in Abu Dhabi came as a surprise embarrassment for Pakistan, which swung into action to chalk out a diplomatic response.

Sources on Monday said that Islamabad might try to get the OIC Contact Group on J&K to once again slam New Delhi on Tuesday for alleged “atrocities” and human rights violation in Kashmir in the aftermath of the February 14 terror attack on CRPF personnel.

New Delhi is also in touch with its interlocutors in Niger and Azerbaijan to convince them that the terror attack at Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14 was carried out by the Jaish-e-Mohammad – an outfit, which had been using its bases in Pakistan to export terror in India. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman recently visited both Pakistan and India and New Delhi expects Riyadh would not lend its support to any statement or move which would be extremely critical against it. Turkey however may support Pakistan in case the latter seeks to make a move to respond to UAE's invitation to India at the OIC meet in Abu Dhabi.

The members of the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir had last met in New York on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018. They reaffirmed complete solidarity with the Kashmiris in their struggle for the right to self-determination and called for UN investigation of the gross human rights violations in “Indian occupied Kashmir”.

(Published 25 February 2019, 15:34 IST)

Follow us on