PM calls on OIC countries to adopt united front to tackle challenges

Makes keynote address at OIC moot: Says Islam has nothing to do with terrorism: Deplores Islamic countries’ keep mum over rising Islamophobia, have failed Palestinians and Kashmiris: Calls for lifting of sanctions on Afghanistan: Qureshi calls for promoting OIC-driven solutions to internal conflicts

By: News Desk
Published: 11:02 AM, 22 Mar, 2022
PM calls on OIC countries to adopt united front to tackle challenges
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Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism but after 9-11, the sentiment of Islamophobia is on the rise all over the world urging the OIC countries which are the representative body of 1.5 billion population to create a united front on various challenges being faced by the Muslims including Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In his keynote address on Tuesday to the 48th session of Organization of Islamic Countries’ Foreign Ministers Council in Islamabad, which Pakistan is hosting, Prime Minister Khan welcomed the participants of the international moot saying he was pleased to announce that the OIC platform was coincided with the occasion of the 75th anniversary of country’s Independence. 

He congratulated all the OIC members over the passage of landmark resolution passed by the United Nations against Islamophobia which declared March 15 as day to combat Islamophobia. 

The March 15, he mentioned, was in connection with the barbaric incident when a gunman opened fire on Muslims at a mosque in New Zealand calling all Muslims terrorists.

He stressed that Islam did not equate terrorism and rejected the notion of differentiating between a “moderate and terrorist Muslim”.

“The moment someone describes as moderate Muslims automatically tags others as radical,” he said, urging the Muslim countries to take a stand on this.

He emphasized that there were no different forms of Islam and Muslims, but the one in line with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

He pointed out that the 9/11 incident led to demonizing of Muslims across the world and also dismissed the criticism against Muslims on denying the right of freedom of expression to those who mocked or ridiculed the Prophet (PBUH).

Imran Khan said Pakistan was the only country that was created in the name of Islam with its Objectives Resolution based on the vision of Islam’s first socio-welfare State of Medina.

He emphasized that Islam is a peaceful religion which never endorses terrorism. “Islam has nothing to do with terrorism,” PM Imran said adding after the incident of 9-11, the sentiment of Islamophobia was gaining currency all over the world. 

“It’s a pity that the Islamic world has kept its silence and did nothing to check the rising incidents of Islamophobia and wrong narrative of Islamic terrorism,” the Pakistani premier bemoaned while urging the heads of Muslim countries to take a united stance over these issues. But, he lamented, no coherent response was coming from the Muslim world. 

“We have failed both the Palestinians and Kashmiris. I am sad that we have not been able to make an impact despite being the massive voice of 1.5 billion,” PM Khan said in his keynote address to the two-day meeting of the 57-member body of Muslim countries that was held at Parliament House under the theme of ‘Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development’ highlighting the challenges being faced by the Muslim world and the common opportunities through joint efforts.

Secretary-General OIC Hissein Brahim Taha, President Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammad Suleiman Al-Jasser, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wangi Yi and other foreign ministers joined the session. 

The prime minister, who commenced his speech with the prayer of seeking Allah Almighty’s guidance for the righteous path, focused on the issues including Islamophobia, global conflicts and the situation regarding Afghanistan, Kashmir, Palestine and Ukraine.

He said India was changing the demography in the Held Kashmir and was trying to turn a majority into minority. “According to the UN charter, it’s a war crime. But no Muslim country is raising objection to it, he said adding that the Muslim world was not exerting pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir issue. 

Imran Khan pointed out that the international community decades ago had made a pledge with Kashmiris to let them decide their fate.

However, he regretted that the status of the Valley had been changed illegally with the residents facing severe human rights situation.

“I ask OIC that unless we have a united front, we keep having seen these abuses,” he goaded the leaders of Muslim countries. He warned that the world was heading towards a cold war with the chances of the countries being divided into blocs. “Unless we as Islamic platform get united, we will stand nowhere,” he said.

On Afghanistan, Imran said that a human crisis was taking place in Afghanistan. He termed the stability of the country extremely important after the 40 years of conflict and called for the lifting of international sanctions to avert the looming humanitarian crisis.

He said the only way to stop terrorism in Afghanistan was to encourage and support a stable government in place.

“As a word of caution, please do not push the proud and independent-minded people of Afghanistan. Let us help them and involve into the international community,” he said.

On the Ukraine issue, PM Khan proposed to consider the ways where the OIC countries along with China could play their role in diffusing the rising conflict.

He said he would hold a discussion with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on how China and OIC could step in to mediate towards a ceasefire of Ukraine war which had already started impacting the world in the shape of rise in prices of oil, gas, wheat.

Qureshi draws world’s attention towards Kashmir, Afghanistan

Emphasizing that today was an important day for Pakistan, Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Tuesday that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was the voice of Muslim Ummah, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. 

Addressing the inaugural session of the OIC foreign ministers’ (FMs) conference in Islamabad, Qureshi said that the organisation was working for the unity of the Muslim world. “Pakistan wants the OIC to play a more proactive role in unifying the Muslims living all over the world,” he said.  

FM Qureshi said that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had successfully raised voice against Islamophobia. “At the last OIC meeting, we had tried to seek world’s attention on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan that resulted after the Taliban takeover of the country," he said, and added, “And at this conference besides Afghanistan, it will be endeavor to highlight the atrocities being committed by the Indian forces in occupied Kashmir.”  

Pakistan, he added, would give a message to the Kashmiris from the platform of OIC that they were not alone and that they had not been forgotten. “The people of Kashmir as well as of Palestine have been suffering immensely at the hands of India and Israel, respectively for the past seven decades now,” he said, and brought home the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in India, which is motivated by extremist RSS ideology, had let loose a reign of terror on the Kashmiris.  

He asserted that apart from Palestine, the Islamic world was also confronted with other issues in the Middle East. 

Qureshi said that situation in Afghanistan was in everybody’s knowledge. “We want to tell the nation that there has been no improvement in situation in our neighbouring country,” he said.  

Qureshi said it was time for the Muslim Ummah to forge a collective response to the current turmoil inside its borders and the ongoing global transition. “We must be a reliable partner in forging unity, justice, and development across the globe, but not anyone’s accomplice in aggression or domination,” he said in his address.

The foreign minister said time had come for OIC to strengthen and equip itself to address contemporary challenges and conflicts confronting the Muslim Ummah.

He mentioned that the Muslim world was facing the conflicts in the Middle East, prolonged foreign occupation, and the denial of the right to self-determination, most notably to the people of Palestine and Kashmir.

“The Muslim world’s resentment is increasing due to frequent external interventions in Muslim countries,” he said.

He pointed out that left unaddressed, these conflicts and disputes undermined the unity and solidarity of OIC countries, exposed the countries to foreign interference and intervention, fueled terrorism and extremism, and deflected attention from development goals.

To help forge a collective response, and under the theme of ‘Partnering for Unity, Justice, and Development,” the foreign minister stressed uniting for justice for the rights of Muslims under occupation and conflicts with countries beyond the Ummah.

“This should also include the urgency of addressing the pervasive Islamophobia facing Muslims in non-Muslim majority countries,” he said.

FM Qureshi emphasized partnering for development by effectively addressing the triple global crises of COVID-19, development, and climate change.

He mentioned the verses of the Holy Quran as saying: “Hold fast all of you, to the cord of Allah and be not divided.” He proposed convening an OIC Ministerial Conference during 2022-2023 to assess the need for establishing a peace and security architecture akin to all other regional organizations.

He said Pakistan stood ready to play its part as a bridge-builder in promoting regional and OIC-driven solutions to internal conflicts.

He said it was a matter of pride for us to host this meeting in 2022 which marked the 75th Anniversary of Pakistan’s independence.

“Promoting solidarity and cooperation within the Muslim Ummah is one of the central pillars of Pakistan’s foreign policy. As Chair of the OIC-CFM during 2022-23, Pakistan’s overarching goal shall be to solidify this bridging role further,” he said.

He commended the leadership role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the OIC Summit Chair.

Qureshi termed the OIC the collective voice of nearly two billion Muslims and also a bridge among Muslim nations and the international community.

He also highlighted the collective recent achievements including holding the CFM on Afghanistan, establishing the OIC Humanitarian Trust Fund appointment of Special Envoy of the OIC Secretary General and launch of Afghanistan Food Security Programme.

He mentioned Pakistan role in strengthening OIC’s presence in Afghanistan by reinforcing the OIC Mission in Kabul.

Welcoming the recent designation of 15 March as the “International Day to Combat Islamophobia” by the UN General Assembly, he said Pakistan was gratified to have played its role in garnering consensus on this important issue.

“Through the observance of this Day, the OIC will enhance greater global awareness of Islamophobia and advance solutions through collective action,” he said.

He said the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, based in Karachi, is galvanizing investment, influencing policy making and undertaking initiatives for the development of the private sector.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was witnessing unprecedented turbulence at the global level, adding that conflict in Ukraine which had rekindled East-West tensions, threatens international peace and security.

Qureshi regretted that even after 50 years of the OIC’s establishment, the organization was far from seeing justice for Muslims in many parts of the world.

“The Muslims of Palestine and the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are still reeling under abominable subjugation,” he said.

He highlighted the Indian actions violating the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the OIC on Jammu and Kashmir.

“These illegal acts increased the threat of a conflict between India and Pakistan. Kashmiris are looking towards their Muslim brothers and sisters for support,” he said.

To forge partnership for development, he proposed for the OIC countries to mobilize international support for a comprehensive strategy on vaccine equity, increased development financing, accelerated climate action getting resolute action against illicit financial flows.

He also called for taking advantage of a Preferential System Trade among the OIC member states.

The foreign minister encouraged the efforts of the Afghan authorities to eliminate Daesh (IS-K) and stressed effective strategies needed to deal with other terrorist groups in Afghanistan like TTP, ETIM, IMU, and Al-Qaida.

“We must guard against spoilers that wish to continue destabilizing Afghanistan and using its territory to promote terrorism,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the Conference would strengthen itself by developing and deploying tools for conflict prevention, mediation, reconciliation and peace building.

Pakistan hosts 48th OIC FMs session

The inaugural session of the two-day meeting of the Council of the Foreign Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) commenced at parliament House in Islamabad as Pakistan is hosting its 48th session.

Prime Minister Imran Khan joined the gathering of the foreign ministers of the Muslim world at the session held at the Parliament House.

As the session started, the national anthem of Pakistan was played on the occasion.

The verses from the Holy Quran were recited. A short video of the OIC journey was screened on the occasion highlighting the Muslim unity as key to success.

Hassoumi Massoudou, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Niger and also the Chair of the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in his speech focused on the objectives of OIC and emphasized the need for collaborated efforts to address the common challenges.

He handed over the Chair of the 48th session of the OIC-CFM to Pakistan represented by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi received the visiting foreign ministers on their arrival at the Parliament House.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his keynote address at the inaugural session will highlight Pakistan’s role and contribution towards OIC and deliberate on the challenges faced by the Muslim world.

Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Secretary-General OIC Hissein Brahim Taha, President Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammad Suleiman Al-Jasser, Chinese State Councilor, and foreign minister Wangi Yi will address the session.

The video message of Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres will be shown on the occasion.

The theme of the session is ‘Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development.

More than 100 resolutions will be considered during the two-day session.

The session coincides with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Pakistan’s independence.

On March 23, the visiting foreign ministers will visit the Pakistan Day parade venue and witness the professional capability of Pakistan’s armed forces and the traditional floats of all the provinces, reflecting the national unity.

 Later in the day, Foreign Minister Qureshi along with OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha will hold a joint press stakeout following the conclusion of the session.

The summit will also discuss developments in Afghanistan and its humanitarian consequences for the Afghan people and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, it added.

Many African issues will also be on the summit’s agenda, including the situation in Mali, the Sahel region, and Lake Chad, and the situation in Central Africa and the Republic of Guinea.

The OIC foreign ministers will also discuss developments in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and other regions during the summit.

Pakistan has a proud history of hosting major OIC events including Summits and Council of Foreign Minister (CFM) meetings. The country hosted the 2nd OIC Summit in Lahore, in February 1974. An Extraordinary OIC Summit was held in Islamabad in 1997, on the occasion of Pakistan’s Golden Jubilee.

Pakistan also hosted the OIC CFMs on four occasions – 2nd Session in December 1970, 11th Session in May 1980, 21st Session in April 1993 and the 34th Session in May 2007. The 1st and the 17th Extraordinary Sessions of the OIC CFM, were held in Islamabad, in January 1980 and December 2021, respectively.

Imran to trumpet Islamic credentials

AFP adds: OIC foreign ministers gathered in Pakistan Tuesday as the country's leader trumpets his achievement of getting Islamophobia recognised at the United Nations while at the same time battling the most serious challenge to his rule in four years.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is meeting in Islamabad with an ambitious agenda that seeks approval for over 100 declarations, including aid for financially strapped Afghanistan and support for the Palestinians and Kashmir.

But as officials praise Prime Minister Imran Khan for getting the UN last week to formally recognise Islamophobia as a global threat, the cricket star-turned-politician faces a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly.

In a hectic week on the political front, the country on Wednesday also celebrates Pakistan Day, with a military parade and flypasts.

The theme for the OIC gathering is "Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development", and Imran Khan will deliver the keynote speech that is sure to reference last week's UN resolution -- a personal bugbear since he became premier in August 2018.

Imran Khan won office through an electorate weary of the two-party dynasties that have dominated Pakistan politics since independence -- periods of power punctuated by military coups.

Khan has called for a million of his supporters to rally in the capital next week to put pressure on dozens of National Assembly members who are reported to be considering voting against him.

The leaders of the two main opposition parties have also called for their supporters to gather, prompting authorities to declare most of this week a public holiday in the hope of avoiding conflict -- particularly during the OIC meeting.

- 'Poorly managed' -

The no-confidence motion is scheduled to be formally introduced on Friday with a vote next week, but horse-trading is common in Pakistan politics and the rebels could well return to the fold before then.

"He has managed his own and allied political parties poorly," political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said of Khan. "It was his failure to keep the party and allies together that has brought him to this."

Although Pakistan escaped the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy is in the doldrums with soaring inflation, a feeble rupee, and crippling debt.

The return of the Taliban to power in neighbouring Afghanistan has also provoked a resurgence of militancy in Pakistan -- including the bombing of an imambargah in Peshawar last month claimed by the local chapter of Islamic State that killed 65 people.

With flaring domestic issues, Khan has tried to position himself on the international stage, but his insistence on continuing with a visit to Moscow last month as Russian troops invaded Ukraine perplexed even his most ardent admirers.

He was also one of the few world leaders to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics when others boycotted in protest at China's human rights record.

There are several scenarios at play for Pakistan this week.

Khan's PTI party is pursuing a court case against rebellious members that could force them to follow the whip.

Another tactic is for parties to, quite literally, hold lawmakers hostage and prevent them from voting or having a quorum.

And even if Khan does lose the vote, there will likely be a series of challenges both inside and outside the assembly.

Most of that will be lost on today's OIC gathering, which is largely a talking shop that will pass a series of political resolutions.

Key among them is channelling aid to Afghanistan, although any formal recognition of the country's new Taliban government remains unlikely. 

Shehbaz Sharif welcomes OIC moot 

In his tweets, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif has welcomed the foreign dignitaries who have come to attend the 48th session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad while reminding the notables that new realities have shaken the world order hoping that the session will chart the way forward for the Muslim Ummah to respond to the challenges. 

in his tweet, Shehbaz wrote: “The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomes the distinguished guests of the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers on behalf of the people of Pakistan, Parliament and all opposition parties. The OIC is a symbol of the enlightened Islamic values of unity, brotherhood and fraternity of the Muslim Ummah.”

“It is the guardian of the aspirations, desires and interests of the people of the Islamic world. It is hoped that this institution will prove to be a protective wall around all the persecuted Muslims in the world including Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir. We wish you success and a happy stay here.”