ISLAMABAD: The two-day 48th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will open in Islamabad today (Tuesday).
The thematic focus of the ministerial conference is on “Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development”. The meeting will coincide with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Pakistan’s independence.
Foreign ministers and high-level dignitaries from OIC member and observer states are attending the CFM.
They will also witness the Pakistan Day Parade on 23rd March 2022 as guests of honour.
State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of the People’s Republic of China will attend the event as a special guest.
Senior officials from non-OIC countries, senior representatives from the United Nations system, regional and international organisations, including the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will also participate.
A total of 675 delegates would participate in the two-day conference.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had earlier stated that 45 foreign ministers out of the total 57 member states will participate in the CFM.
While according to Pakistan’s permanent representative to the OIC, Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, a total of 30 foreign ministers will participate, whereas, the rest would be represented by ministers of state and deputy foreign ministers.
The US Under-Secretary of State for Civil Defence, Democracy and Human Rights Azra Zia along with her delegation would also participate in the conference, besides special representatives by several other Western countries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session today (Tuesday). Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will chair the CFM.
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 Councillor, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will address the session.
The video message of Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres will be shown on the occasion.
Foreign Minister Qureshi and Secretary General OIC Taha met on Monday and reviewed the agenda of the 48th CFM, besides exchanging views on the main outcomes expected from the conference.
The OIC secretary general is visiting Islamabad for participation in the 48th Session of the OIC CFM.
According to a statement of the Foreign Office, the duo also discussed the issues confronting the Islamic Ummah and the role of the OIC in that regard.
The foreign minister highlighted the special significance of the 48th OIC-CFM for Pakistan, as it is coinciding with the celebration of the 75th year of Pakistan’s independence.
Whilst highlighting the grim human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), the foreign minister expressed appreciation for the OIC’s principled position and consistent support for the just struggle of Kashmiris for their right to self-determination.
Welcoming the recent adoption of the resolution at the United Nations General Assembly designating 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, the foreign minister lauded the support extended by the OIC and its Member States to Pakistan’s initiative.
He commended the proposal to appoint the OIC’s Special Envoy on Islamophobia to help coordinate the work of the Organization and its Member States’ for addressing discrimination and stigmatization of Muslims all over the world.
Referring to the humanitarian and economic crises faced by the Afghan people, the foreign minister stressed the importance of the implementation of decisions taken at the Extraordinary Session of the OIC-CFM held in Islamabad on 19 December 2021, and welcomed the operationalization of the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan.
The OIC secretary general assured the Foreign Minister of the OIC Secretariat’s full support and cooperation during Pakistan’s chairmanship of CFM.
The CFM assumes special significance given the backdrop of opportunities and challenges before the Muslim world in the political, security, social and economic spheres.
Apart from an appraisal of the global and regional landscapes, the CFM will inter alia reaffirm the longstanding solidarity and support of its membership with the people of Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir; reiterate its resolve to combat rising Islamophobia; and discuss strategies to counter the effects of climate change, vaccine inequity and erosion in progress towards SDGs.
The CFM will review and assess the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). The ministerial meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir will also take place on the sidelines.
The ministerial meeting will take stock of the decisions taken at the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC-CFM held in Islamabad in December 2021 to address the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.
The Islamabad Ministerial meeting will consider and adopt over 100 resolutions on a broad range of issues, including peace and security; economic development; cultural and scientific cooperation; and humanitarian, legal, administrative and financial matters. As its founding member, Pakistan has been an ardent supporter of the OIC.
Pakistan has played a seminal role in cementing the bonds of unity and solidarity, upholding respect for the principles of international law, and fostering economic, scientific and cultural partnerships.
“The hosting of this CFM by Pakistan represents an enduring tradition of convening high-level OIC Summits and Ministerial meetings since the establishment of the Organization,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar, adding that it also reflects the abiding commitment of the people of Pakistan to promote the bonds of Muslim fraternity and foster cooperative partnerships.
At the conclusion of the CFM, Foreign Minister Qureshi along with OIC Secretary General Taha will hold a joint press stakeout on Wednesday.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022