ISLAMABAD: Opposition leaders on Thursday slammed the Pakistani foreign minister for what they described as ‘irresponsible’ comments on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, saying the government should accept its own "diplomatic failures" on Kashmir rather than blaming others.
On Wednesday, in a TV interview, Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Islamabad expected the OIC to call a foreign minister’s meeting on the Kashmir issue, saying it would hold a meeting outside the OIC forum if it did not stand by Pakistan.
#PPPP leader @seharkamran says govt should accept its "diplomatic failures" on #Kashmir rather than blaming others, as #Pakistan’s foreign minister takes flak from opposition parties over his remarks on #OIC
Read special by @iSaimaShabbir: https://t.co/DVSH3c7lla pic.twitter.com/8zoiKmHw0e
— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) August 7, 2020
“It was an irresponsible statement by the foreign minister of Pakistan,” Pakistan People’s Party leader Sehar Kamran told Arab News. “He should identify his own diplomatic failures rather than blaming other countries or any forum.”
Pakistan’s historically tense ties with India, with whom it has a border dispute over the Himalayan Kashmir region, took a turn for the worse last August when the Indian government took away the special status of the part of Kashmir it administers and imposed a security lockdown on the region.
The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has since lobbied for a reversal of the move around the world, including with the United States and the United Nations Security Council, asking for action against India for what it describes as the “illegal occupation” of the valley.
“The PTI government has suffered a severe diplomatic crisis,” Kamran said. “They [government] have to identify what went wrong in their diplomatic efforts. Introspection is more important.”
Raja Zafarul Haq, senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, a major opposition party, said it was Pakistan’s responsibility to “activate” the OIC and its 57 members states against India on the Kashmir issue.
“We should contact and talk to them to apprise them about the latest situation in Kashmir,” he added.
PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal also condemned the “irresponsible” statement by FM Qureshi, saying the government was “playing with Pakistan's vital interests.”
“The PTI government has isolated Pakistan on the world diplomatic stage,” Iqbal said.
At a briefing at the foreign office on Thursday, outgoing spokesperson Aisha Farouqui said Pakistan and the people of Pakistan had higher expectations from the OIC than any other international organization because of “our deep-rooted fraternal ties with the OIC member states and with the OIC itself.”
“So the statement made by the foreign minister in the interview was a reflection of the people’s aspirations and expectations from the OIC to take forward the Jammu and Kashmir dispute internationally,” she said. “As a nation, we would like it [OIC] to play a leading role in raising the Jammu and Kashmir issue internationally.”