Muslim women stand at the Pyaung Bate village near  Maungdaw town, Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 21 December 2016. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA

Pakistani diplomats across the Islamic world are lobbying as much for the Rohingya cause as for Kashmiri separatists.

This follows a strident pitch for the Rohingya cause by Pakistan's de facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz in the recent Organisation of Islamic Conference at Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

Mr Aziz, who is foreign affairs adviser to Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told the OIC that the Muslim community across the world must "play an active role" to help Rohingya Muslims in western Myanmar.

Aziz said Pakistan has always supported oppressed Muslim populations across the world, raising its voice against human rights violations in "Kashmir, Palestine and other parts of the world".

He emphasised that "the plight of Rohingya Muslims" continues to pose a major challenge to the "conscience of the international community" and the "Muslim Ummah" must mobilise its efforts to alleviate the crisis.

Aziz indicated that the issue was no longer a domestic issue for Myanmar and that it transcended international borders. He urged Mynamar to respect international law and accept the Rohingya Muslims as the legal populace of Myanmar.

The PM's adviser on foreign affairs said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wrote a letter to the United Nations secretary general, urging the international community to intensify "diplomatic and moral pressure" on the Myanmar government and "grant the requisite rights to Rohingya Muslims and provide them with relief".

Appreciating Myanmar's Advisory Commission on Rakhine State set up in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation in September 2016, Aziz also urged the Myanmar govt to allow media access and distribution of humanitarian aid in areas affected by the recent spate of violence.

After the OIC conference, Pakistani diplomats who usually lobby OIC member countries for the cause of Kashmir's freedom from India have also tagged the Rohingya cause in their advocacy.

The lobbying includes a call to all OIC member countries to threaten trade sanctions on Myanmar unless the Rohingyas are recognised as Myanmar citizens and accorded all rights available to other Myanmar citizens.

"There is a tendency to project India and Myanmar as villains denying rights to beleaguered Muslim communities and oppressing them," said a senior West Asian diplomat visiting India with the Abu Dhabi Crown prince recently.

The crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan was the chief guest at the Indian Republic Day celebrations.

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