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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday while urging the Muslim countries to unite in the face of global challenges, warned them against falling into the politics of ‘Cold War’ blocs as it will lead them to nowhere.

In his keynote address to the 48th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFMs) after Pakistan assumed the chair, the prime minister spoke at length about the role of the OIC on the issues of Kashmir and Palestine.

The inaugural session of the two-day conference under the theme of “Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development”, was also addressed by Secretary-General OIC Hissein Brahim Taha, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi as Chair of the OIC-CFM, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi as special guest, President Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammad Suleiman Al-Jasser, and representatives of the Arab, African, and Asian groups.

OIC-FMs’ moot begins today

“We have failed both, the Palestinians and the people of Kashmir. I am sad to say that we have not been able to make any impact at all,” he regretted, adding that they do not take us “seriously” for having a “divided house” and “those powers know it”. “We are 1.5 billion [Muslim] people. But, our voice to stop this blatant injustice is insignificant. We’re not talking about conquering some countries. We are simply talking about the human rights of the people of Kashmir and Palestine,” he added.

The prime minister said that the blatant injustices could not be stopped, despite the fact that international law is on the side of the people of Palestine and Kashmir, adding that the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions backed the rights of Kashmiri people to self-determination through a plebiscite. But, he added that the international community never ensured that right to be given to them.

In the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, he said that the special status of the deputed territory was taken away illegally on August 5, 2019 and it is also changing the demographic structure of the occupied territory in complete contravention of the fourth Geneva Convention by bringing non-settlers to convert majority of the Muslims into minority.

“Nothing happened because they [India] feel no pressure…They feel we can just pass a resolution and then go back to our usual business. Unless, the OIC is united on core issues, human rights abuses would keep happening such as the daylight robbery in Palestine,” he added.

However, he said that he can see a hope now because of social media, as there is awareness in Western countries. “So far, much more than the OIC, it is the mobile phone and the spread of information of the injustices being done to the Palestinians. At the moment, that is the best way to protect them, not us,” he said.

The prime minister also warned that the world was heading towards a “Cold War” with the chances of the countries being divided into “blocs”. “Unless, we as an Islamic platform get united, we will stand nowhere,” he said.

He also congratulated the OIC members over the landmark resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly by declaring March 15 as the Day to Combat Islamophobia. He said that March 15 was in connection with the barbaric incident when a gunman walked into a mosque in New Zealand and shot 50 people dead, “because he felt that all Muslims were terrorists.”

Where did this Islamophobia grow and was allowed to keep growing? After 9/11. What happened after 9/11? Unfortunately, this narrative of “Islamic terrorism” and “Islamic radicalism” went on unchecked,” he added.

Prime Minister Khan also told the OIC foreign ministers and other delegates that being a sportsman, he had spent a lot of his life in England and that he understands “the Western civilisation probably much better than most people”.

“I saw this Islamophobia kept growing and the reason was, I am sorry to say, that we, the Muslim countries did not do anything to check this wrong narrative. How can any religion have anything to do with the terrorism?” he asked, and added that how a person in the streets in Western countries is supposed to differentiate between a “moderate Islam” and “radical Islam”.

He said that the heads of state of the Muslim-majority countries should have taken a stand on this. But, instead of countering this narrative, he said that some Muslim heads of state said they were “moderate Muslims”. “The moment you say you are a moderate Muslim, you automatically say there is some extreme form of Islam,” he said.

Without naming the former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, the prime minister added that “our head of state of the time after 9/11, coined the phrase, “enlightened moderation””. “I understand English better than most, but I still don’t know what it means?” he said, adding that “enlightened moderation” was a term to appease those who were relating terrorism to Islam.

“And unfortunately, as a result there was a perception that there are different types of Islam…there is only one Islam. Islam of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him),” he said, adding that there are moderates, liberals, conservatives, and fanatics in every human community, but it is only Muslims who were branded based on their religion.

He pointed out that the 9/11 incident led to demonizing of Muslims across the world, adding that mocking or ridiculing the Prophet (PBUH) in the name of freedom of expression was unjustified and unacceptable.

He said that Pakistan was the only country created in the name of Islam with its Objective Resolution based on the vision of Islam’s first social welfare, the State of Medina. He said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was sent to the world as a blessing for the entire humanity and not specific for Muslims only.

On the Ukraine situation, he proposed to consider the ways where the OIC countries along with China could play their role in diffusing the rising conflict. The prime minister said that he would hold discussion with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yi on how China and the OIC could step into mediate towards a ceasefire of the Ukraine war, which had already started impacting the world in the shape of rise in prices of oil, gas, and wheat.

On Afghanistan, he termed the stability of the country extremely important after the 40 years of conflict and called for lifting of international sanctions to avert the looming humanitarian crisis.

“The only way to stop terrorism in Afghanistan is to encourage and support a stable government in the country. 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, adding that Afghans being independent people by nature would never accept outside dictation. The prime minister also regretted that the world is witnessing a situation where the poor countries are being robbed with almost $1.6 trillion dollars illegally transferred to rich countries by the influential.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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