LAHORE - Although the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was set up some five decades ago it is yet to prove itself a formidable force. It exists only on papers and has failed to give its members guidance on any important issue facing them.

All OIC states are following their own policies – and their disunity provides the anti-Islam forces ample justification for rejoicing. These forces are convinced that Islamic countries pose them no threat. As an organization the OIC seemingly stands no future unless urgent steps are taken to iron out differences among its member states and they are made to join hands for a common agenda.

For this purpose, the OIC charter should be reviewed in the light of the new ground realities. The OIC countries should have same friends, same foes. In other words they should follow one policy on all important matters facing the Ummah.

What is most important at this juncture is a united policy towards Israel. It should be hammered out by a majority decision and then all OIC states should be bound to follow the same. If majority of the OIC states are of the view that the Jewish state should be accorded recognition – although Al-Quds remains to be liberated and there are no signs of it being liberated in the foreseeable future - all countries should bow their heads and establish diplomatic ties with it.

A disunited OIC stands no political future

But if majority of the OIC members think that such a decision would be against the interests of the Ummah, the countries that have already recognized Israel should immediately review their position and derecognize the Jewish state.

The Tuesday statement made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes it imperative for the OIC states to come out of their deep slumber, discuss the Jewish leader’s future plans and prepare a strategy to thwart them.

The Israeli PM said he would annex large swathes of occupied Palestinian territories if he is re-elected, a decision that for decades has been considered an endgame scenario for Palestinians’ aspirations of statehood.

He said he planned to make the move, which would permanently seize up to one-third of the West Bank, after the election next week and hinted it may have been approved by Washington.

“I am waiting to do this in maximum coordination with [Donald] Trump,” he said.

Netanyahu said: “Today, I announce my intention, after the establishment of a new government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

This should make it clear to all Islamic states that Israel is not going to give up Al-Quds. Instead, it plans to annex more Arab territories.

Arab countries who are reportedly thinking of establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state should not forget that such a step would amount to endorsing Israeli plans.

A special OIC summit should be convened to discuss all aspects of the matter and work out a joint line of action for all OIC states.

In the same spirit the OIC countries should have a similar policy about a six-week-old illegal Indian initiative of annexing Kashmir despite the fact that the UN resolutions for the rights of Kashmiri people remain unimplemented since decades.

When Saudi and UAE foreign ministers visited Pakistan a few days ago to discuss the situation in IOK, a senior journalist reported quoting government sources that the UAE top diplomat had advised Islamabad not to make Kashmir as Ummah’s issue. The claim has not so far been contradicted.

(Another paper hinted that the Saudi thinking on the subject was no different, notwithstanding Foreign Minister Qureshi’s statement that both the GCC countries were supporting Pakistan).

There is no doubt that the OIC states have failed to discharge their obligations mentioned in its charter.

For example, Article 16 of Chapter 1 of the OIC Charter says that member states of this organization are “determined” to safeguard the rights, dignity and religious and cultural identity of Muslim communities and minorities in non-Member states.

This article reminds the OIC states of their duties towards Kashmiri Muslims facing atrocities at the hands of India. No step has been taken against India so far, a situation that would embolden India to go ahead with its future plans.

In occupied Kashmir curfew has been going on for the past six weeks and mosques have been locked. If the OIC did not intervene to safeguard the rights of the Kashmiri Muslims in the light of the OIC Charter, the IOK could be converted into a Hindu state over a period of time. Preliminary steps to change the demography of the Muslim state have already been started with the abolition of the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution.

Another area calling for mutual cooperation among the OIC countries is economic.

The OIC states should import only those items from non-Muslim states which are not available from the brotherly Muslim countries. Likewise only those items should be exported to non-Muslim states which are surplus for the OIC states.

Rich countries needing foreign manpower to meet their demands should prefer skilled/unskilled labour from Muslim countries. They should hire only such experts from non-Muslim countries as are not available from the OIC states.

This approach would solve unemployment problem in many Islamic countries.

Science and technology is another field which has a vast room for mutual cooperation. There are countries blessed with abundant resources and there are others that have expertise in a large number of areas. If they join hands their dependence on the West in a number of areas will come to an end. And resultantly, the resources they spend to meet their S&T-related requirements can be saved.

Pakistan’s expertise in a variety of fields can be of tremendous help in this regard.