International Islamic Body Appoints Kashmir Envoy

1 October 2009
The Hindustan Times
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

New Delhi: Pakistan has been able to get the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) involved in the Kashmir dispute once again. The OIC, a group of 57 predominantly Muslim countries, which promotes Muslim solidarity in political, social and economic matters, has appointed a Special Envoy on Kashmir, Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman, a Saudi Arabian official, who is expected to endorse Pakistan’s viewpoint on Kashmir in international forums. The envoy may not even be allowed to visit Jammu and Kashmir if any such request is made, Indian diplomatic sources told Hindustan Times. India may have refused to discuss Kashmir during External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s meeting with his Pakistani counterpart SM Qureshi last Sunday, when they met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meet. But there was no way it could prevent the issue from being brought into focus, what with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairperson of Kashmir’s separatist All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) addressing a ‘contact group’ of the OIC on Monday. “We believe the OIC appointing a special envoy on Kashmir is a significant development,” said the Mirwaiz. “We want Muslim countries to use their good offices to persuade India to work on Kashmir.” The OIC contact group the Mirwaiz addressed included the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, as well as the Prime Minister of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan. Earlier he had also met Pakistan Prime Minister Asif Zardari and Foreign Minister Qureshi separately. The Mirwaiz was also hopeful of American support. After being almost ignored by the previous George W. Bush administration, he believed the new people in power would pay more attention to Jammu & Kashmir.