According to reports, seven civilians were killed in the Pulwama district earlier last month when the Indian security forces opened fire to disperse an unruly crowd in the Sirnoo village. Indian forces also injured dozens of other civilians following a gunfight with freedom fighters in the occupied valley. Security forces had laid siege to the locality based on intelligence reports about the presence of three terrorists, including an Army deserter.
The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) subsequently issued a condemnation of the terrorist attack. This time however there was a sharp change in language used to talk about the incident. Typically OIC calling out Indian state brutalities and the issued public statements have conveyed the group’s “deep concern”, “sorrow” and “disappointment”. Previous statements have also expressed the need for India to show “restraint” in Indian-administered Kashmir. Language has been fairly guarded and evasive of pointing fingers at India despite Pakistan’s straightforward and clear standing on the issue. In the past, policy analysts and observers in Pakistan have felt Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir as being largely ignored or sidelined by the representatives of the Muslim World.
Saudi Arabia has signed several defense pacts with PM Narendra Modi amid the surge in anti-Muslim violence during Modi’s government. Both countries also signed counterterror pacts on terror financing and money laundering, while also agreeing on cooperation in the exchange of intelligence.
Last year, during the US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh, the Muslim world’s indifference to Pakistan’s stance was once again highlighted. In the Trump-led Arab Islamic American summit in Riyadh, Trump made harsh statements against Pakistan. All this was at a summit deemed the “Islamic” summit, where the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, a country that has long proudly allowed Islam to dictate foreign policy, wasn’t invited to address the summit. Not only was Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif kept from attending the summit, the US President Donald Trump at the summit chose to identify India as a victim of terror, and failed to acknowledge Pakistan as one. Furthermore, the American President called Kashmiri separatist movement as “terrorism.”
Hence, the OIC calling out the Indian security force’s conduct as “terrorism” this time is unprecedented and was unforeseen. The OIC issued a condemnation for the “wicked terrorist act by Indian forces in Indian-occupied Kashmir”. The condemnation from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the collective voice of the Muslim world, was particularly interesting for its language.
The OIC condemnation came after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote to the secretary general. Simultaneously, the United Nations secretary general and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights were also approached by the Pakistani government.
The OIC’s change of stance, even if it has translated this time in its language has been deemed as cause for some celebration in Pakistan. It is being argued as having given some legitimacy to Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir.