OIC Foreign Ministers moot | By M Zahid Rifat


OIC Foreign Ministers moot

AS a founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Pakistan is committed to the vision of realizing the true potential of the OIC as the most effective and representative voice of the Muslim World.

As a founding member of the OIC, Pakistan has always played a vital role in the development of the Organization and in promotion of its Charter objectives.

During the past five decades, since OIC was formed in September 1969, Pakistan has hosted many conferences making invaluable contribution towards strengthening of the OIC.

It is pertinent to mention here that 57-member countries of OIC have as much as 80 per cent of total Muslims population in the world.

Pakistan had hosted 17th Extraordinary Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan on 19 December 2021.

In continuation of making its positive contribution to strengthen unity of Islamic Ummah from the platform of OIC, Pakistan has also earned the distinction of hosting the 48th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on 22-23 March 2022 as another manifestation of the country’s proactive role to continue making its valuable contribution to promote Islamic solidarity and cooperation.

Holding of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, however, came at a critical juncture for the Islamic world as the people of Palestine and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were continuously being denied their inalienable right to self-determination, the rising trend of Islamophobia and hate speeches threatening Muslim communities across many parts of the world and millions of Afghans were facing an uncertain future in the midst of humanitarian and economic crisis.

The OIC Foreign Ministers had come to Pakistan when the people here were enthusiastically celebrating another Pakistan Day.

They felicitated host Pakistan government and the people and also witnessed the Pakistan Day parade at which military might of the country was quite impressively and appropriately displayed to their great appreciation along with President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the defence forces Chiefs.

They were also joined by the Chinese Foreign Minister who was invited to the moot as a special guest.

The OIC Council of Foreign Ministers session proceedings were conducted by host Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi along with OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha.

The moot itself dilated on a wide-ranging subjects, issues and concerns of the Islamic world particularly Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine and Afghanistan among others.

During the deliberations, which lasted two days, the participants dilated upon and adopted as many as 140 resolutions including 20 resolutions which were sponsored as well as co-sponsored by host Pakistan.

OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha, in his address, highlighted Kashmir and Palestine issues among other issues and concerns of the Islamic world and categorically stated that India’s unilateral actions of its 05 August 2019 in its occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir were a blatant violation the UN Security Council resolutions which remain un-implemented even for more than seven decades by New Delhi.

Strongly condemning the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people by Israel’s illegal occupation of the land, he said that the Israeli actions were stark negation of the international laws and the UN resolutions for the peaceful settlement of the issue.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in his video message on the occasion, said that UN and OIC enjoy decades old relationship based on the values of multi-lateral cooperation, dialogue and solidarity.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking as a special guest to the moot, said that his country stands ready for cooperation with Islamic world, offered to work for regional security, stability and development and pointedly mentioned China is investing huge amount of $ 400 billion in as many as 600 projects in the Muslim world and attended the moot to boost multilateralism.

In his key note address , Prime Minister Imran Khan said that we have failed Kashmiris and Palestinians, called for promoting unity among Islamic countries, was happy to see menace of Islamophobia being acknowledged as a reality and also made pointed mention of Kashmir and Palestine’s lingering unresolved issues, worsening situation in Afghanistan and ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict urging the moot participants to ponder on bringing about a ceasefire there.

At the end of two days deliberations, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers adopted a comprehensive document called Islamabad Declaration contents of which were highlighted at a joint news conference by OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha and host Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

OIC through its Council of Foreign Ministers vowed to protect the common interests of the Islamic Ummah, adopted a unified stance on Kashmir, Palestine, resolved to unify efforts to address common challenges and leverage opportunities besides upholding the rights and interests of Muslim minorities in non-OIC countries

Through the Islamabad Declaration, the moot vowed to pursue a shared vision for greater social, economic , scientific and technological development and integration within the Muslim world and beyond; reaffirmed the collective desire to promote harmony, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, better standards of life, human dignity and understanding among all people; proposed convening a ministerial meeting later this year or next to evolve solutions, develop mechanisms and tools to prevent conflicts and promote peace; welcomed the operationalization of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund by Islamic Development Bank; appreciated unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly to proclaim 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia and CFM’s decision to appoint a Special Envoy in this regard; rejected terrorism in all forms and manifestations and attempts to link this evil to any country, religion, nationality, race or civilization; reiterated OIC’s strong position against attempts to equate the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination with terrorism; acknowledged the growing role of innovation and emerging technologies in stimulating growth and digital transformation and shared resolved to promote linkages and partnerships.

The successful hosting and organizing OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was duly appreciated by the OIC Secretary General and the delegates.

They also thanked the government for making quite appreciable arrangements for the moot and felicitated the government and the people of Pakistan on Pakistan Day celebrations and fast approaching 75th Independence anniversary.

In conclusion, this scribe sincerely prays for positive, productive and forward looking outcome of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers 48th session and hope for the resolutions adopted by the moot taking practical shape and implemented in due course and Islamic Ummah shouldering its obligations towards solution of Kashmir and Palestine unresolved disputes and reaching out to help the Afghan people in their deepening humanitarian and economic crisis on a priority basis.

—The writer is a retired Deputy Controller (News), Radio Pakistan, based in Lahore.