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OIC- Why it has two different rules for India and China?

The organisation that issues statements and passes resolutions only

OIC- Why it has two different rules for India and China?

Life goes on as usual even as the sun fires in national capital Delhi and political temperature is not settling down. Yet, things look little better in quiet and serene Chandra Gupta Maurya Marg in Chankyapuri thanks to the long shadows of rows of trees that are giving some respite from harsh weather and also from the statement of Nupur Sharma that has virtually wake-up organisation like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

As you drive past Chandra Gupta Maurya Marg, you see the embassy building of Qatar too. Well, it was Qatar that had condemned the derogatory comments made by two BJP leaders on Prophet Muhammed and Islam. That triggered other Islamic countries and OIC to corner India. Well, the OIC does not miss any opportunity to corner India. Those who follow the activities of OIC will also vouch for it. Having said that, it is no secret that the bitter rivalry of Saudi Arab-Iran has made this organisation a useless one. The Iran–Saudi Arabia proxy conflict, also referred to as the Middle Eastern Cold War, is the ongoing struggle for influence in the Middle East and other Muslim regions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power.

Sadly, the OIC doesn't have a unified voice because most of its member countries are not democracies. So, while their populations may be in agreement on some issue, they do not always represent the views of their populations. The OIC has a broad spectrum of different cultures. This means that on the political front, even if there is a united stance, it means very little, practically. The question is: Is the OIC relevant and effective? Sadly, resolutions issued by the OIC are not usually followed by action. If you want to know what position member states can take in the eyes of their own public, statements by the OIC are reflective of that. The statements show their limits. If we talk about the disputes between Pakistan-Bangladesh, it can be safely said that OIC has failed to resolve their issues. Both countries remain on collision course all the time. If we scan through the pages of recent history, we see officials of the Pakistani High Commission in Dhaka were alleged to be financing the terrorist activities of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh organization. Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh's foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants. However, Pakistan's foreign office maintains that allegations against him are baseless and the incident is unfortunate.

In December 2015, Pakistan withdrew the diplomat Farina Arshad after Bangladeshi authorities asked the diplomat to leave for reportedly having "extended financial support to a suspected militant who faces spying charges". Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) operative Idris Sheikh, who also holds Pakistani nationality, had claimed he had received money from her and was in contact with her for some time. Pakistan has withdrawn one of its diplomats from Bangladesh after "harassment", the foreign ministry said. In January 2016, Islamabad asked Dhaka to recall senior diplomat Moushumi Rahman from its High Commission in Islamabad within 48 hours.

As the OIC includes a significant number of Arab States among its membership, it has often been compared with the Arab League. While the two organisations share many similarities, the main difference lies in the OIC's limited politicisation compared with the Arab League. It should be remembered that the OIC holds an Islamic Summit once every three years. At the summit, heads of state discuss ways to achieve the charter's objectives and make policy decisions that concern its member states. Experts say that decisions and resolutions are much like they are at UN General Assembly. Member States each gets a vote. Each member State can table a resolution and then others can vote on it or suggest tweaks.OIC resolutions aren't binding. They are just a declaration of the general feeling of the leaders of the Islamic world.

Meanwhile, while the OIC does not lost any opportunity to issue statement against India from Hijab to Kashmir and other issues, it never makes any statement against China for giving second class treatment to Uyghur Muslims. Ayjaz Wani, a Research Fellow at ORF Mumbai, says that the presence of Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi as 'special guest' in the 48th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Pakistan on 22 and 23 March, comes at the time when more than a million Uyghur Muslims are in concentration camps in China. The Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang are facing "genocide" and cultural aggression from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Wang not only used this occasion to push CCP's narrative of how well Muslim minorities in China are treated, but also said, "China and the Islamic world both enjoy a profound history, seek similar values, and share historic missions".

Ever since Xinjiang became part of China in 1949, the cultural aggression, forced demographic change, and exploitation of indigenous resources remained the CCP's only objective. The Chinese Han population grew from meagre 5 per cent to 40 percent, while the Uyghur population fell from 80 per cent to 45.8 per cent. Most of the Uyghur Muslims are working in the primary sector, whilst secondary and tertiary sectors are dominated by the Hans. This growing disparity gave rise to heightened ethnic discord, culminated in ethnic riots of 2009.

Is OIC so tootles that it cannot even issue a statement or pass a resolution against China? Why it fears from the dragon? It is not possible that it would be unaware of the fact that China spent huge sum since 2017 to construct 1,200 detention camps across Xinjiang. More than 1 million Uyghur Muslims were sent to detention centres for "offences," including "wearing a veil," growing "a long beard," and violating the government's family planning policy. Beijing has also resorted to DNA profiling, blood sampling, fingerprinting, and voice sampling and has increased vigilance through technical intelligence analysis. Furthermore, it banned prayers and demolished mosques. Muslim women were raped and torched in these detention centres. Wake up, OIC.

(The author is Delhi-based senior journalist and writer. He is author of Gandhi's Delhi which has brought to the forth many hidden facts about Mahatma Gandhi)

Vivek Shukla
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