The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest organization, after the United Nations, with a membership of 57 States spread over four continents. Being the collective voice of the Muslim world, the Organization endeavors to protect and promote interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world. OIC’s General Secretariat is based in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha is the current Secretary General of the OIC.
Pakistan values the OIC’s role and contribution as an institutional expression of the Pan-Islamic sentiment. As a founding member, it remains committed to the values and objectives of the Organization. In view of the Article 40 of the Constitution, promoting relations with the Muslim countries is a constitutional obligation.
Pakistan has been an active Member of the OIC. It hosted the Second OIC Summit Conference in February 1974 in Lahore. An Extraordinary OIC Summit was also held in Islamabad in 1997 on the occasion of Pakistan’s Golden Jubilee.
In addition, Pakistan hosted the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM) on five occasions (2nd Session-December 1970, 11th Session-May 1980, 21st Session-April 1993, 34th Session-May 2007, and 48th Session-March 2022). 1st, 7thand 17thExtraordinary Sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers were also convened in Islamabad in January 1980, September 1994, and December 2021, respectively.
Pakistan hosted the 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) on 22-23 March 2022. The Session coincided with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence. It was one of the most significant multilateral events in Pakistan after a hiatus of 15 years. The Session adopted more than 140 Resolutions on political, economic, scientific, humanitarian, organizational, legal, human rights, cultural, social, and minority affairs. It was marked by high level participation as 45 out of 70 delegations were led at the Ministerial level or above. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China addressed the inaugural session as a special guest.
Pakistan is also a Member of the OIC Executive Committee till the holding of the 50th CFM in 2024.
Pakistan has been leading the OIC Ambassadors Group in Geneva for many years. Pakistan’s pro-active role in Geneva has helped highlight the OIC positions on various issues of concern. In New York as well, Pakistan Mission takes active part in formulating OIC positions on important issues at the UN General Assembly and other bodies. It was Pakistan that tabled, on behalf of the OIC countries, the UN General Assembly Resolution on designation of 15 March as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’.
The headquarters of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) is located in Islamabad.
The Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA), an affiliated institution of OIC, is based in Karachi.
Pakistan is an active Member of the OIC Contact Groups on Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine, Somalia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Yemen, Aggression of Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, Mediation and Muslims in Europe. In 2019, it also joined the Contact Group on Peace and Dialogue.
Pakistan has been taking a proactive role in defusing the Israel-Palestine conflict through the platform of OIC. Pakistan has played a noteworthy role in raising its voice for the cessation of violence in Gaza, restoration of peace and stability and enforcement of the rights of the Palestinians during the Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers on the brutal Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in October 2023, as well as, the Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit on the Israeli Aggression Against the Palestinian People in November 2023. Pakistan has persistently utilized the OIC platform to reiterate its unflinching support for an independent and viable Palestinian state which is territorially contiguous with borders as existed before 1967 and East Jerusalem as its capital.
Pakistani professionals played a commendable role in development of various OIC institutions, particularly the Islamic Development Bank and Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC).
Additionally, Pakistan has been tabling resolutions at the CFM on a wide range of important subjects including Jammu and Kashmir, peace and stability in South Asia, Islamophobia and protection of Islamic holy sites. These unanimously-adopted resolutions are a manifestation of the OIC’s support for Pakistan on issues of critical importance.
OIC and Jammu & Kashmir
The OIC has been consistently and unequivocally supporting the Kashmir cause through a series of pronouncements, including the Communiqués issued by the Islamic Summits and the Resolutions adopted by various sessions of the Council of Foreign Ministers. The OIC resolutions and pronouncements – carrying the weight of 57 Member States – indispensably reinforce Pakistan’s call for settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions.
In the wake of the ongoing crisis in IIOJK, caused by India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, the OIC remains actively seized of the matter. The 48th CFM adopted a comprehensive OIC Plan of Action on J&K which has assigned concrete actions to six addressees including Member States, OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, the Secretary General and General Secretariat, Special Envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) and Subsidiary Organs and Institutions to raise the Jammu and Kashmir dispute at various international fora with greater vigor.
The OIC General Secretariat and Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission have both issued a number of statements, showing concern over different developments in IIOJK, rejecting the Indian efforts for demographic change and calling for reversal of all illegal and unilateral measures taken on or after 5 August 2019.
The Secretary General of the OIC, Hissein Brahim Taha visited Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir on 11-12 December, 2022. He also visited Line of Control and met leadership and people of AJK. He assured the people of Jammu and Kashmir of his full support for their inalienable right to self-determination.
OIC Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Yousef Al-Dobeay visited Pakistan and Azad Kashmir on 2-6 March 2020, 7-12 November 2021, 11-12 December 2022 and 10-14 October 2023, to obtain first-hand information about the situation, and express solidarity with the Kashmiri people. During the visits in 2021, he was also accompanied by the Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mr. Tarig Bakheet. Comprehensive reports on the first two visits were circulated at the 47th and 48th CFM Sessions for consideration of Ministers. During the latest visit in 2023, the Special Envoy was accompanied by Ambassador Hassan Ali Hassan, Director (Legal Affairs). The delegation visited the Line of Control and met with thevictims of cross-border bombings. The Special Envoy held talks with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. He also visited the Thota refugee camp and held talks with the President and the Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Comprehensive reports on the visit shall be submitted during the Islamic Summit in The Gambia in 2024.
The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, comprising Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Niger and Pakistan, has met many times since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019. The Contact Group issued strong statements in support of the Kashmir Cause.
The OIC-Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) has a “Standing Mechanism to Monitor Human Rights Situation in IIOJK”. A delegation from the Commission also visited Pakistan and Azad Kashmir in August 2021 to take stock of the situation on the ground.