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How Muslim World Reacted on Kargil

Diplomatic Correspondent

Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Chief  of Jamaat Islami, Pakistan, while speaking on Kargil developments, said that Pakistan stood isolated internationally and OIC was almost dead. Given its highly sectarian agenda and dubious functioning, OIC has never commanded respect among the global community.

Since 1990, with the outbreak of Islamist insurgency in Kashmir, the statements issued by OIC have been quite embarrassing to India and Pakistan exploited these for building the publicity focus on Kashmir. This yearís OIC meet at Burkino Faso was quite different. Strong indictment of Pakistanís action in Kargil made OIC countries cautious. Two anti-Indian resolutions were passed but individually almost all OIC members assured India that they understood its position. At the same time they expressed their helplessness and lack of clout in breaking the consensus. Most of the OIC countries issued usual proforma statements of concern at the "escalating tension".

Egypt and Iran offered for mediation initially but preferred to remain silent subsequently. Egypt, itself plagued by the fundamentalist militancy called for peaceful settlement of the dispute. Iranís role on Kargil is influenced by its own compulsions. Pakistan-backed Taliban regime is strongly anti-Iran and has conducted many programmes against Iranian population (Hazara) in Afghanistan recently. State-sponsored religious militias of Pakistan have been pursuing anti-Shia campaigns. This cannot be to the liking of Iran. Lastly, Kargil is a Shia-majority  area. Iran would not like Pakistan, with a sectarian agenda to harass Kargilis.

Reliable reports say that even Saudi Arabia, the traditional backer of Pakistan privately told it to settle its dispute with India by peaceful means. It conveyed that the use of force in Kashmir would result in large-scale human and material losses in both the countries. On Clinton-Sharif communique Saudis remained non-committal.

Pakistan and Saudi collaboration has a history that dates back to late sixties and was dictated by commonality of interests. Both the countries have remained frontline states for Americans in the cold war and had common interest in fomenting Pan Islamist movements across Asia. In 1971 Gen Zia himself launched action against Palestinians in Jordan at the instance of Saudis. Pakistani elite commandoes guard Saudi monarchy. Saudis have financed heavily (one-billion dollars) Pakistanís nuclear bomb. Currently the international community is concerned over a possible Pakistan-Saudi nuclear collaboration, which covers transfer of prohibited sensitive technology. Saudi Defence Minister recently visited Pakistani defence facilities.

Does Saudi Arabiaís soft stance on Kargil mark a shift? And what was the purpose, behind Sharifís holding of a full-fledged cabinet meeting in Riyadh around the time Kargil war was coming to close. Nearly ninety people, which included cabinet ministers, bureaucrats, Army chief, top brass of the Army, ISI chief and supremos of some militant religious groups had descended on Riyadh for a four day trip. This was an unusual meeting, where all the factions of Pakistanís power structure were represented-Army, ISI, religious militias and the Prime Minister.

In the Kashmir secessionist campaign, Saudis have been remote controlling, mainly through their linkages with religious militia groups based in Pakistan. This has been in full knowledge of Americans. As long as it served their interests, they remained silent. Since Americans did not want to push India into a tight spot, whereby they will lose all the leverage in influencing future diplomatic moves on Kashmir-the new missive to Saudis was to rein in the "Mujahideen" groups. Americans also warned Riyadh that it would not tolerate any situation, where renegade Wahabi-fundamentalist groups e.g. Bin Laden become threat to US interests. With reports coming in, that these renegade groups are in the process of managing dangerous chemical/biological/nuclear weapons, made available with break-up of Soviet Union, Americans have become quite cautious. Moreover, these renegade groups are anti-status-quoist. They have challenged the Saudi Monarchy as well.

Clinton not only wanted Saudis to sort out the "Mujahideen" factor in Kargil but it also asked it to ensure the total implementation of US formula on Kargil. That was precisely the purpose of Sharifís cabinet meeting in Riyadh.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

Pakistan's Role

Kargil 1999

 

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