One thing we should be well aware of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is that it has done anything but protected the interests of the Muslims. Many people, including the leaders of some Muslim states, regret the OIC’s silence over Kashmir and Palestine. Apart from token protests and some verbal remarks, the body has not taken any concrete step against the occupying powers of India and Israel who have made life miserable for the people of Kashmir and Palestine. OIC’s silence over Kashmir was the backdrop to Pakistan Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s criticism of the body, as he was addressing a Malaysian think-tank session on regional peace and security.

Unfortunately, apart from a few exceptions, the majority of the member countries in an attempt to protect their narrow national interests make the body a toothless body. It is shameful — of all the countries that are part of OIC — for their continued silence on this grave humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in front of their eyes. Thus the OIC has rarely been able to play any meaningful part in demonstrating solidarity with fellow Muslims. Some times, it chooses silence over protests. And some times, it chooses protest over action.

What is missing till this day from the body’s agenda is the action that shows solidarity with the oppressed people, especially Muslims. It is regrettable to note that OIC, despite the second-largest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations (UN), is also failing its primary purpose. It has been unable to emerge as “the collective voice of the Muslim world.”

After the Indian government move of 5th August 2019, the response from the OIC was slight condemnations or words of warning. It is a sorry state of affairs that seventy-plus-years struggle of Kashmiris against Indian oppression of their rights to life, movement and speech, does not mean anything to the OIC.

Nothing came out of the OIC earlier sessions on Kashmir. Similarly, OIC’s upcoming special meeting in Islamabad in April 2020 to discuss situation in Kashmir has already been influenced by India. It regrettable that the body’s April meeting that Pakistan expected to be attended by the foreign minister’s of the member states will now see the participation of the parliamentarians.

Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” There is too much for introspection in these words for the body comprising of 57 Muslim states. The OIC needs to understand that remaining silent to the plight of the Kashmiri people, who for more than 70 years, have been denied their right to determine their own destiny, is tantamount to apathy and indifference.