Islamabad, Sep 12 (IANS) With Muslim countries Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates snubbing Pakistan over its attempt to link Kashmir with the ‘Muslim ummah’ issue, Islamabad on Thursday sought to play down the issue, but insisted that both countries had “expressed solidarity with Pakistan and support for the Jammu & Kashmir cause”.
To a question that the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and UAE, during their visit to Pakistan last week had conveyed that Kashmir should not be linked to the Muslim Ummah issue, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal dismissed the media reports.
“The media accounts are speculative. The legality and international legitimacy of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is derived from the UNSC resolutions. This is a well-known fact. During the visit, the two Ministers reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s and UAE’s solidarity with Pakistan and support for the Jammu & Kashmir cause,” he said.
The UAE foreign minister and Saudi state minister for foreign affairs had visited Pakistan last week and held meetings with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. The Kashmir issue, following India’s decision to revoke its special status, was one of the key subjects discussed at the meetings.
The Gulf countries with whom Pakistan has enjoyed long-standing “brotherly” relationship for decades have declined to back Pakistan in its condemnation of India’s action on Kashmir. The UAE in fact termed revocation of special status for Kashmir as India’s internal matter, while Saudi Arabia asked both countries to maintain peace.
The UAE in fact, honoured Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with its highest civilian honour, the ‘Order of Zayed’. India, under Modi, has been actively strengthening its ties with the Middle East as part of its Link West policy, and it has paid rich dividends.
Other Gulf countries – Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – have not issued any statements. Modi also became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Bahrain last month. Manama and New Delhi share very close ties.
On September 2, a Pakistani senator said that it is high time for Pakistan to pull out of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as it is “worse than the United Nations”. Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani also said that the ‘bubble of an Islamic Ummah had burst”.
Taking part in a discussion on Kashmir in the Senate, the PPP leader said that Pakistan should reprise its relations with the Ummah.
Recalling that the OIC had failed to act whenever Pakistan or any other Muslim country faced a difficult situation, he referred to the 1990s genocide in Bosnia and the ethnic cleansing in Palestine. “The world has become too profit oriented and focused on economic interests.”
He cited as examples a $15 billion deal signed recently between Aramco, the Saudi-owned oil giant, and India’s largest conglomerate Reliance, conferment of the UAE’s highest civil award on Modi and signing of MoUs during the first-ever visit to Bahrain by an Indian premier last week to drive home the point that Muslim countries “were too busy minding their own business to bother about issues like Kashmir”.
Faisal also said that “no background dialogue between India and Pakistan” was underway.