Pakistan faced a massive snub by member countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after its effort to highlight the alleged “plight” of Kashmiris and “rising Islamophobia” was rejected by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was chairing the virtual meeting of the permanent representatives (PR) of OIC member states that took place on 19 May.
Pakistan’s PR to OIC, Munir Khan, wanted to form a “small informal working group” to take collective action against India at the United Nations in wake of the “rising” Islamophobia in India.
However, UAE rejected this demand of Pakistan and stated that forming of any new working group will only happen after it has been approved by all the foreign ministers of OIC member countries. Maldives, too, came out strongly against Pakistan’s move and rejected the idea of “any country specific statements”.
A dejected Khan, according to official documents accessed by The Sunday Guardian, after receiving the snubbing, stated that “it seems India has a veto (power) in OIC”.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a major pressure group that has 57 Muslim-majority countries as members with a permanent delegation in the UN and European Union. It is regarded as the “the collective voice of the Muslim world” which “safeguards and protects the interests of the Muslim world’ while promoting international peace and harmony”.
India, for long, has been seeking OIC’s membership on the ground that it is the country with the largest Muslim population outside Muslim-majority countries. However, so far, OIC, bowing to the pressure of Pakistan which has been expressing its strong reservations to giving India a membership of the OIC, has ignored India’s application.
The 19 May incident comes exactly one month after OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC) on 19 April had called on the Indian government to take steps to protect Muslim minorities who were being “negatively profiled” and facing “discrimination and violence” amidst the Covid-19 crisis.
Much of the inputs and information that had led to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation speaking out against India on 19 April was a result of the information warfare that was carried out by Pakistan on various social media platforms that had led to an image that Muslims in India were being targeted.