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Wednesday 19 February 2020

OIC: Saudi Arabia to patch up with Pakistan at India’s expense

After snubbing Pakistan by supporting the scrapping of Article 370 by India and rejecting Pakistani offer to mediate in its talks with Iran, Riyadh is trying to make up with Islamabad by convening an OIC meeting over Kashmir

Saudi Arabia will call a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss the situation in Kashmir. However, the date has not been confirmed. According to Pakistani media reports, when Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud visited India’s western neighbour, he gave this information in a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

According to a statement of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry, during the meeting, Qureshi had raised the issue of removal of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC. Qureshi said that with the new citizenship law and NRC, minorities in India, especially Muslims, are being targeted in a systemic manner. According to the statement, the two foreign ministers discussed also the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan was not involved in OIC summit held in Malaysia

An OIC summit was also held before this in Malaysia, which did not include Pakistan which withdrew from the conference after Saudi Arabia refused to accommodate it. It is, therefore, believed that Saudi Arabia’s decision to hold a meeting on the Kashmir issue is a step to keep Islamabad on its side.

A few days ago there was a tussle between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia-Turkey-Pakistan over the leadership of Muslim countries.

At present, the date of the OIC meeting has not been set. The comity of nations is seeing Saudi Arabia’s decision to hold this meeting as a souring of relations between Riyadh and New Delhi. The partnership between India and Saudi Arabia has grown in the last few years. So much so that the Saudi monarchy supported the Indian parliament’s decision to effectively scrap Article 370.

Further, Saudi Arabia had rejected Pakistan’s offer to let it mediate in the monarchy’s talks with Iran.

At the FATF meeting, Saudi Arabia did not support the case of Pakistan, which got a breather due to its defence by China, Turkey and Malaysia.

In the meantime, Riyadh drew close to New Delhi for commercial interests such as investments in Indian telecom and oil sectors.

Pakistan was not getting the support of any Islamic country on Kashmir issue till now, but now this proposed OIC meet may change the course.

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