48 nations confirm participation in summit on March 22-23, says Islamabad minister. The OIC is likely to discuss Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine and Islamophobia, says Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

New Delhi: Pakistan is coaxing the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to hold a meeting of its Contact Group on Kashmir when it holds its ministerial summit in Islamabad on March 22 and 23. Pakistan has in the recent couple of years expressed frustration over OCI’s reluctance to frequently give hard hitting statement on Kashmir as it had done in the past.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that foreign ministers of 48 Muslim countries had so far confirmed their participation for the meeting which was expected to discuss Afghanistan, Kashmir and Palestine and other international issues including Islamophobia.

A couple of years back, Pakistan had threatened to form an alternative bloc of Muslim countries if the OIC did not adequately highlight the Kashmir issue.

OIC’s last month attempt to accommodate Pakistan by issuing statements on the Hijab controversy in Karnataka and the public call for genocide of Muslims in Haridwar was countered by India. The MEA had accused the OIC of having a “communal mindset” and said it was “hijacked by vested interests to further their propaganda against India”.

In September last year too, the MEA had accused the OIC of “helplessly” allowing itself to be held hostage by Pakistan when it criticised India at the UN Human Rights Council.

At the same time, India has tried building bridges with the OIC. In July, India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ausif Sayeed had met the OIC Secretary General Yousef Al-Othaimeen to correct some misperceptions about India and also be careful that the platform is not subverted for comments on India’s internal affairs.