Islamabad moot of OIC Foreign Ministers | By Dr Muhammad Khan


Islamabad moot of OIC Foreign Ministers

THE sole agenda for the OIC foreign ministers meeting at Islamabad is to draw the international attention towards the emerging humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The scheduled OIC foreign ministers meeting on December 19, 2021 emphasized the immediate humanitarian assistance to save the lives of over 38 million Afghan masses.

It is essentially important at this critical time to provide all out assistance to Afghan masses since the harsh winter conditions have already started affecting the lives of the people in Afghanistan. As per Shah Mehmood Qureshi, “To abandon Afghanistan at this stage would be a historic mistake.

This would be amounting to causing grave humanitarian devastation in Afghanistan. Indeed, any instability and lack of a committed and dedicated support could give way to a new conflict in the already war-torn Afghanistan.

Besides, any laxity on the part of OIC states, regional states and international community can cause massive migrations of the Afghan masses.

As Per Shah Mehmood Qureshi, “it could trigger an exodus of refugees to neighbouring countries” and the west even. Indeed, by assisting the Afghan masses, the international community will indeed save millions of human beings in Afghanistan.

In the absence of sufficient economic resources and without adequate international assistance, Afghanistan is heading towards humanitarian crisis.

Since the domestic means of economic uplift are too meagre to meet the requirements of masses, therefore, this war-torn country has to depend on the external resources.

In last two decades, economic sustainability of the country was mainly dependent on US and western world. After pull-out of US and NATO forces, U.S and European states have abruptly stopped the economic assistance to Afghanistan under Taliban Government which resulted into economic crises in the country.

Besides, the Biden Administration, as frozen nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation in a bid to keep Taliban Government away from accessing this Afghan money.

This money is neither available to Taliban led Afghan government nor to the people of Afghanistan, since the country is under Treasury Department’s sanctions designation list. The people of Afghanistan are confused about the future of their country and its economic survival.

Most of the people are lacking the basic necessities of life and job opportunities. Besides, there is hash winter already set-in the country which has restricted the mobility of the people.

Besides OIC foreign ministers and representatives, the representatives from China, US, Russia and European Union have also been invited to witness the meeting and contribute as well.

Indeed, it was United States and NATO forces which have created this mess in Afghanistan during last two decades. They have discriminated bulk of the Afghan masses, leaving them without provision of basic necessities during two decades of occupation.

What Pakistan would like that, “We want them to come and directly share the ground situation and their concerns with the participants? The international community and other countries will also be able to share their assessments with them [the Taliban].

We think it can be a helpful exercise.” Besides OIC states, it is also the responsibility of US and European states to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan masses.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), One-third of Afghanistan’s total population of 38 million is facing food insecurity, including two million children who are already malnourished. Afghanistan has faced severe food shortages even before the Taliban takeover.

In last few years over 40% of Afghan crops were destroyed because of shortage of water with devastation of livestock in the country. The previous governments under Ghani and Hamid Karzai did not address the basic issues of the Afghan masses, rather acted as tool of US and NATO.

This meeting is the outcome of a consultative process of Pakistan with Muslim states especially with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha is the convener of the meeting, though it is hosted by Pakistan.

Since the meeting has single point agenda of humanitarian assistance of Afghanistan therefore, it will accelerate the relief of the Afghan people, end their sufferings and provide them with urgent humanitarian assistance.

Indeed, regional states and international community must play a part to overcome the looming humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. International community must deliver at least the essential humanitarian aid for the people of Afghanistan.

United States and international financial institutions must unfreeze Afghanistan’s reserves money as soon as possible. An urgent and sustained support from the international community will prevent larger humanitarian crises in Afghanistan.

Besides, international community must engage with Afghanistan rather isolating it because of Taliban rule. Alienation of Afghanistan at this critical stage will have regional and global security implications.

Indeed, Afghanistan has been ravaged by four decades of war. “Afghans must not pay twice over for failures of the international community: first for war and now for neglect.”

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.


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