The government has upped the ante on raising the Kashmir issue, more specifically since the one-year anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019. Quite naturally, this rejuvenated policy will be spearheaded by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pakistan’s diplomatic cadres. His statement then, of Pakistan looking to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to set up a meeting to discuss Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir’s (IIOK) status is perfectly reasonable.

Unfortunately, the OIC has yet to convene a meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on Kashmir. Pakistan has taken every step to keep the leadership of OIC and maintain unity among Muslim states. One sure-fire way to bring India to the dialogue table for resolving the Kashmir issue is to launch a campaign similar to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). And member states of the OIC can exercise their influence to call the OIC’s CFM meeting. Yet the organisation’ s failure in convening a meeting of CFM on Kashmir is disappointing.

Kashmir, along with Palestine, has emerged as the litmus test to gauge the moral compass of the countries and people. If all member states of the OIC are not interested in supporting the Kashmiri right to self-determination, Pakistan can always approach other friendly countries, both within the Muslim bloc and beyond.

Countries such as Malaysia and Turkey, those that have supported Pakistan’s call to end the military siege in Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir (IIOK) can join Pakistan on a platform geared specifically to pressure India. Pakistan has a lot of allies, and all of them take up different, but equally important roles in our foreign policy efforts.

Through its efforts, the government here at home has made Kashmir the focal point of our diplomatic efforts, and all countries that are supporting our endeavours in this respect can join the struggle for a Kashmir that is finally free from India’s siege. It really doesn’t matter which banner they unite under, as long as the narrative of the Kashmiris takes precedence.