In a joint communique, the OIC urged India to implement UN resolutions on Kashmir and said that it could not be equated with terrorism. Do you think this statement will have impact on India?
Following the joint communique by world leaders at the thirteenth Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey, the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies generated a poll to establish whether the public believed the communique would have any impact on the forced Indian occupation in Jammu and Kashmir. Interestingly, the poll results suggest that respondents were neither hopeful nor hopeless about its impact. 40.6% respondents marked ‘yes’, while the same percentage of respondents marked ‘no’. Only 18.8% respondents could not determine its positive or negative implications, given that India is not member state of the OIC.
The OIC was founded in the Kingdom of Morocco in 1969, in reaction to the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem. The OIC, as the world’s second largest inter-governmental organisation with 57 member states and five observers, is a permanent observer in the UN Headquarters, New York. It has 43 stock exchanges and eight other organisations working within its ambit for promoting cooperation on levels of development, trade, finance, and social research. The organisation has been criticised time and again for maintaining a fairly high level of indifference, and at times emodying the antithesis of cooperation during manifold economic and political crises in the muslim world.
On the one hand, India is home to the world’s third largest muslim population, fitting the OIC’s membership eligibilty criteria. On many occasions, it has expressed an interest in joining the OIC with ‘observer’ status, but has never made a formal application. India’s potential candidacy has been supported by the Saudi King Abdullah in 2008. On the other hand, Pakistan’s stance on its disputes with India and the Kashmir territory is firm. Therefore, as a result of Pakistan’s opposition and threat to boycott the OIC, India’s inclusion in the OIC has effectively remained blocked. The Foreign Office of Pakistan also argues that India’s inclusion in OIC would violate its own rules, which require that an aspirant state must not have an ongoing conflict with member states.
The contention over Kashmir between India and Pakistan is a protracted one, stretching across almost seven decades. Under the Shimla Agreement 1972, India had agreed to work towards a final settlement, but simultaneously, it also argued that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. At the time of partition, this fact has been corroborated in the Article 7 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 and was further affirmed when the United Nations Security Council and the UN Commission for India and Pakistan reiterated this position through its resolutions. When a fixed plebiscite declared Kashmir’s union with India, the mandate of the people Jammu and Kashmir was stolen. Hence, the election was outrightly rejected by the UNSC resolution 122 of January 24, 1957. Subsequently, the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 1514 (1960) and 2625 (1970) also uphold against Indian occupation of the Kashmir valley.
Pakistan continues to advocate for the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir. On resolution of this dispute, settlement of all other residual disputes will follow suit. On the other hand, OIC members’ position on Kashmir can play a significant role in compelling India by constraining the growing economic and trade links between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council members . However, the previous record of statements by OIC, and the poll respondents suggest that this communique is a ceremonial gesture which will not translate into any long-term action.