Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is the association of Muslim countries. It was established in September 1969 in Rabat (Morocco) after the burning of Masjid-Aqsa in Jerusalem. The inaugural was attended by 24 heads of Muslim countries. In this meeting, the OIC condemned the desecration of Al-Aqsa mosque by the Jews. Currently the membership of this body had increased to 57.
The OIC is the symbol of Islamic unity and integrity of the Muslim world. This organisation provides the Islamic world a unique forum to solve the problems faced by Muslim world and to increase cooperation not only amongst the Muslim countries but also between other countries and Islamic states.
Aims And Objectives:
i) To promote cooperation among Muslim nations.
ii) To protect rights of Muslims around the world.
iii) To promote the spirit of brotherhood between the Muslims.
iv) To eliminate all racial distinctions.
v) To promote economic, scientific, social and commercial links between Islamic nations.
vi) To assist Palestinians for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Structure Of OIC:
The OIC comprises of following organs and affiliated bodies.
a) Islamic Summit Conference
b) Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference
d) Special Committees
e) Other Agencies
Pakistan’s Role In The OIC:
With its deep commitment to the promotion of Islamic solidarity Pakistan has played a significant role in the establishment of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 1969, and became an active member of the Conference.
Pakistan has the honour to host the second Islamic Summit Conference in Lahore in 1974. The Conference acknowledged with thanks the efforts of Pakistan for promoting unity amongst the Muslim world. The first extraordinary conference of Foreign Ministers was held in Islamabad, Pakistan, in Jan 1980. Pakistan has also endeavoured to contribute to the strengthening of various organs and agencies of the OIC, such as the Islamic Solidarity Fund.
In October, 1980 the President of Pakistan was accorded the unique honour of addressing the UN General Assembly, on behalf of the entire Islamic World. The speech made by General Zia in the 25th Annual Session of the General Assembly, as a representative of the Islamic World, was not only hailed by the majority of the Muslim countries but was also regarded as the Islam’s universal message of peace.
As Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, President General Zia-ul-Haq undertook a goodwill mission to Tehran and Baghdad, in September, 1980, in an effort to bring to an end the unfortunate war between the two Islamic countries. Pakistan attended the 15th Islamic conference of Foreign Ministers at Sana’a in December, 1984. It was at this Conference that Mr. Sharifuddin Pirzada was unanimously elected Secretary General of the OIC.
“In its reform process, the OIC has received very useful proposals from Pakistan to make it a more practical and viable organization for safeguarding the interests of the Muslim world. And now these proposals are under consideration,” OIC’s former Secretary-General Prof Ekemeledin Ihsanoglu added.
President Musharraf’s vision, he pointed out, has been made part of ‘Eminent Persons document of the OIC’, he remarked. He said the organization was thankful to Pakistan for its active support for addressing the challenges, being faced today by the Muslim world.
The government of
Pakistan called upon the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play a
role to end the conflict in Yemen. The PM Office statement, meanwhile, said: “Pakistan calls upon
the United Nations, OIC and the international community to play a constructive
role in finding a political solution to the crisis.”
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), on 20 August 2016, expressed concern over gross human rights violations and unabated killings in India-held Kashmir and renewed its call for resolution of the dispute through peaceful means
Mr Sartaj Aziz said “We both (Sartaj and Madani) stressed the need for intensifying cooperation among the OIC member countries and constructive exchange of ideas to address the increasing trends of Islamphobia and defamation of religions. We also agree that the platform of the OIC must be used to build a narrative against extremism and terrorism,”.
He said that Pakistan had always contributed to strengthening the bonds of fraternity and solidarity among the Muslim countries.
“We remain committed to working with the OIC for advancing all the legitimate causes of the Muslim Ummah, including the right of self-determination of the peoples of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
Role of OIC For Muslim States And Causes Of Its Failure:
The OIC aims at consolidating solidarity of Muslim world and the promotion of political, economic, cultural and scientific cooperation among the member states. So far as the manifests of the OIC is concerned it offer many prospects for the solidarity of the Muslim world and the resolution of issues faced by its members but practically the record of this organisation is not very encouraging. This body has failed miserably to resolve the problem faced by the Muslim world.
For example, OIC has not played its proper role to resolve the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India, the Palestine issue between Israel and the Arabs, the Chechnya issue between Russia and the Chechens, and the Shattul Arab dispute between Iran and Iraq. Recently OIC failed completely to prevent American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The limitations of this organization were also exposed during 1980 to 1988 when Iran and Iraq were fighting an aimless war. Later on, in 1991, OIC failed to convince Saddam Hussain to evacuate Kuwait before the US-led coalition forces expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait and UN imposed economic sanctions on Baghdad.
The period from 1991 to 2002 marks another phase of utter failure of organization of Islamic Cooperation because during this period this body failed to resolve problems strained relations between Iraq and its Arab neighbours, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Consequently, United States was forced to invent the hoax of Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to invade and capture Iraq in 2003.
The petty differences between the Muslim States have not only weakened the Muslim nations individually but also have made OIC an effective body. This organization holds summit meetings regularly where resolutions are passed but no practical result is achieved towards resolving the problems of the member states.
Iyad bin Amin Madani OIC Secretary General said an said the OIC was organising an ulema conference to discuss measures for ensuring a prosperous, peaceful and united Afghanistan and expressed his gratitude to Pakistan for its support in this regard.
Iyad bin Amin Madani OIC Secretary General said an OIC representative office had opened in Ramallah and expressed the hope that soon there would be a stable unity government in Palestine.
As for the OIC, in its nearly five-decade existence the organisation has achieved hardly anything of substance in any field — political, economic, cultural — and has served as little more than a talk shop for the Muslim world’s princes, potentates and rulers.
Causes Of Failure:
The ground realities which inhibit the capacity of OIC as an effective body to protect legitimate interests of Muslim world are the following.
i) Lack of unity among the member states
ii) Lack of resources
iii) Lack of modern technology
iv) Role of American and Jewish lobby.
Lack Of Unity:
Unfortunately, the Muslim states lack unity and cooperation which is the call of the hour. Most of the Muslim countries are engaged in local rivalries and politics. For example, Iraq has some claims over Kuwait oilfields, Iran has to settle issue of Shtt-el-Arab with Iraq and some African Muslim countries are involved in local disputes. Even Pakistan and Afghanistan has still to complete the demarcation of their boundary. This disunity among the Muslim states has weakened the apparatus of OIC and hinders an effective collective action. OIC must have one voice at the United Nations and the European Union.
Lack Of Resources:
Most of the Muslim countries are very poor and belong to the under developed third world. These nations have limited resources of income and are overpopulated with millions of illiterate unemployed people to feed. Majority of the people of poor nations of Asia and Africa are living under poverty line. Many land locked Muslim nations like Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other depend on others for their trade and commerce.
Lack Of Modern Technology:
Unfortunately, majority of the Muslim states lack modern knowledge and technology. Only Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia are to some extent exempt from this category. Thus the Muslim world is entirely dependent on Western countries for their goods like machinery, equipment, medicines, textiles and military weapons. Hus OIC is basically a body of under developed countries and thus cannot force other countries.
OIC and Modern Challenges:
OIC should play its role for restoring peace in the Saudi-Yemen region of the Middle East. Using the preeminent forum for Muslim states to attempt a diplomatic solution in the Yemen conflict would, Under the present Saudi secretary general, Iyad Ameen Madani, the OIC has taken a distinctly anti-Houthi, pro-Saudi stance.
ii) Syria Conflict:
Indeed, the Iranian role in parts of the Middle East is questionable, with Tehran and Hezbollah providing critical support to Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But where the Syrian imbroglio is concerned, no one’s hands are clean: along with the Iranians, the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs, Turkey and the West have all used the unfortunate country as a proxy battlefield, backing different militant groups.
The Muslim World stands at a historic crossroads and faces tremendous challenges with immense repercussion for its future. With regard to the challenges posed by the process of globalisation, the necessity for unity within the Ummah has increased tremendously.
The major and current problems faced by Ummah are, the Palestinian issue, terrorism, the media and Islamization, dialogue among civilization, the political and human rights of Muslim minorities in non-OIC Muslim countries. Concrete efforts are required for the peaceful resolution of conflicts and OIC can play an important role.
iii) Global Media And Islamphobia:
The state of Islamphobia in the west is alarming and in fact is a form of racism and discrimination. Being a powerful tool in the globalised world, the media can project a positive image of Islam and can promote the interests of the Ummah.
iv) Human Development:
Being a unique Muslim international organisation, the OIC has the potential to play a major role in creating a brighter and prosperous future for the Ummah.
v) Economic Integration Of The Ummah:
At present, the figure of intra-Ummatic trade is not more than 14 per cent. This proportionate must be enhanced by the creation of a Free Trade Area leading to the Islamic Common Market in the long-run.
There is no need to hugely reshuffle OIC’s organisational structure except to force on the following important points.
Reforming the Charter and renaming the OIC to the Muslim Union (MU).
Several members do not pay a financial contribution to OIC but have high expectations from it. this attitude must change as in such an environment the OIC cannot work efficiently.
Advancement in the fields of science and technology.
Establishment of a sound central financial system for Muslim World, for which it require the establishment of:
a) A Muslim Monetary Fund (MMF)
b) A Human Development Fund (HDF)
c) A new currency with the name of Islamic Dinar.
Establishment of an Islamic Common Market (ICM) for the promotion of mutual trade.
Establishment of a strong Muslim New Agency (MNA) at par with CNN and BBC.
Establishment of two new security institutions:
a) Muslim Security Council (MSC) and,
b) Muslim Defence Force (MDF).
OIC must have a voice at the United Nations and the European Union.
The challenges and problems faced by the OIC could be weighed against a wide range of opportunities. The member countries possess resources as well as expertise which if properly harnessed can transform the quality of life of their people. The Muslim world has a vast human and material resources and a potential for coordinating effort to economically strengthen their countries vis-à-vis industrialised countries. If such an accomplishment could be made within the Muslim countries, the OIC would acquire a leverage that would have a profound effect on international politics. Given the rich heritage of shared religion, culture and commonality of aims and aspirations, OIC could potentially emerge as a major vehicle for economic progress and a potential force. Despite existing diversity there are great opportunities to maximize development through cooperation. In this regard model for European Economic Community can be helpful to revitalize the OIC for achieving the economic goals. There are a number of similarities between both the organisations. These similarities range from geographical contiguity among the member states to the diversity in economic resources.
Fruitful cooperation on the platform of OIC can take place only if Ummah identity is given priority by Muslims. This change, however, will not be easy to achieve. For worthwhile cooperation it is necessary to understand the challenges and problems of the existing situation. Once this is properly understood, it will be easier to determine a realistic goal.
For complete Pakistan Affairs notes click here.