Islamabad Declaration

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The 48th Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers concluded on with “resounding success on all counts” by adopting 140 resolutions on Kashmir, Palestine, and other global issues, besides appointing a special envoy on Islamophobia. Hosted by Pakistan from March 22-23 and attended by 46 ministerial-level delegations and 800 delegates from OIC member and observer states, and international and regional organizations, the moot adopted 20 resolutions sponsored or co-sponsored by Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir, peace and security in South Asia, UN Security Council reform, Muslim minorities, situation in Afghanistan, Islamophobia and countering terrorism. The Islamabad Declaration adopted at the conclusion of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers appears to be a comprehensive document, addressing around 70 points. These cover disputes affecting the Muslim world as well as conflicts in non-Muslim areas, such as the Ukraine-Russia war. Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan all feature prominently in the document, as does the plight of the Rohingya and the attempts to counter Islamophobia. But as always, the key challenge before the multilateral Muslim bloc remains translating these noble aims into achievable goals, and more importantly, overcoming internal divisions. While such meetings have an important role to play where discussion of the Muslim world’s problems is concerned, there has long been legitimate criticism of the OIC’s lack of delivery and unity. True, OIC declarations are well-meaning and give the appearance of a united voice emerging from the Muslim bloc, but the reality is more sobering. As the Islamabad Declaration contains solemn pledges to support the oppressed people of Kashmir, in reality very little is done by the majority of Muslim states to help end the subjugation of Kashmir. For instance, the UAE has sought to make investments in the disputed region, to the benefit of New Delhi. These discrepancies between the OIC member states’ words and actions need to be addressed if the multilateral body is to become an effective voice for the Muslim world and not merely a talk shop that issues verbose statements.

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