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ISLAMABAD: The two-day 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) concluded with a resolve to promote and protect the member states’ common interests, support just causes such as Palestine, Kashmir and others, to unify efforts to address common challenges and leverage opportunities.

Through adoption of the Islamabad Declaration, the 48th OIC-CFM also resolved to uphold the rights and interests of Muslim minorities in non-OIC countries; pursue a shared vision for greater social, economic, scientific and technological development and integration within the Muslim world and beyond.

“It reaffirms our collective desire to promote harmony, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, better standards of life, human dignity and understanding among all peoples,” the declaration stated which was adopted at the conclusion along with 140 resolutions on various other issues including Jammu and Kashmir, Palestine and matters of politics, security, humanitarian assistance, economy, plight of Muslim minorities, Islamophobia, arms control, terrorism, Covid-19, illicit financial flows, corruption, OIC reforms and so on.

Speaking at a joint news conference along with OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that 46 foreign ministers and over 800 delegates from the OIC member states, members with the status of observers and delegates of non-OIC countries participated in the two-day moot.

Highlighting the outcomes of the moot, Qureshi said that among the other key outcomes, a comprehensive and forceful joint communiqué and formulation of the Action Plan on the Jammu and Kashmir were important achievements of the moot. He said that out of the 140 resolutions adopted, 20 resolutions were sponsored or co-sponsored by Pakistan.

He said that in the Islamabad Declaration, the moot reaffirming its resolve to fulfil the solemn pledges contained in the OIC Charter and Declarations of all previous Summit Conferences and the Councils of Foreign Ministers, determining to further strengthen the bonds of unity and solidarity among our people and Member States.

It also resolved to pursue a shared global vision for peace, security, development and human rights grounded in faithful adherence to universal principles of equity and justice, sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-interference in the internal affairs of states, besides reaffirming the Member States’ commitment to the principles and objectives of the UN and OIC Charters, in particular to safeguard and protect their common interests.

It also resolved to support their just causes; and to coordinate and unify their efforts to collectively address the challenges confronting the Muslim Ummah.

It noted the growing threats to international peace and security, as well as, the increasing tensions and instability in many parts of the world, aggravated by long-standing unresolved conflicts, pervasive Islamophobia, and deliberate attempts to tarnish the sacred image of Islam and to undermine the Muslim world’s peaceful coexistence with other cultures and religions.

It also expressed concerns over the intensifying geopolitical competition, arms race, humanitarian and climate crises, social and economic inequalities and their negative impacts on the people, as well as, on global political, security and economic order, besides expressing deep concern over the ongoing armed conflicts including in Europe and emphasizing the need for ending hostilities, preventing loss of lives, enhancing humanitarian assistance and surge in diplomacy.

He further stated that the moot was conscious of the myriad of economic, scientific and technological opportunities for harnessing international trade, investments and connectivity through partnerships, adding that the only need is how to utilize these for the common benefit of the member states.

The Foreign Minister said the OIC has operationalized the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan, adding that it has agreed to appoint a special envoy on Islamophobia.

He said the OIC also welcomed the establishment of Rehmatullil Alameen Authority by Pakistan, stressing it is important to understand and study the life of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) for character building of our youth.

He said that the OIC adopted a resolution on threats to peace and security in South Asia. He thanked the OIC member states for sharing Pakistan’s concerns on the matter.

He said the OIC-CFM has agreed to convene a ministerial meeting to identify mechanism and tools for promotion of peace and prevention of conflicts in the Muslim world.

As regards Russia-Ukraine conflict, the OIC urged both sides to engage in a meaningful dialogue to find a solution and prevent conflict, he added. He said that the moot stressed the need for the establishment of humanitarian corridors to ensure safe movement of civilians and humanitarian supplies.

He said that the session expressed willingness of the OIC members to support and facilitate the dialogue process between the two parties. He said both China and OIC are willing to work collectively and play mediator role for the end of the conflict, adding that Pakistan is desirous of being partner in peace but not in conflict.

Qureshi said that China also has the desire to play a mediatory role in ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, adding that he would also be visiting China in coming few days where he would hold more talks with the Chinese leadership on how to play a role in ending of the conflict.

To a question, Qureshi said that during his meeting with the US Under-Secretary of States on the sidelines of the conference, he explained the reasons behind Pakistan’s decision to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He said that the Americans were not concerned about Pakistan’s decision, but ‘they did express concerns over India’s decisions despite the US strategic partner’.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General OIC Hissein Brahim Taha said the OIC CFM reiterated its support to the longstanding issues of Palestine and the Jammu and Kashmir.

Emphasizing on the unity amongst the OIC countries, he said that the United Nations designated 15th March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, which is a great achievement as a result of collective efforts of the Muslim states.

He thanked Pakistan for according warm reception to the visiting delegates from OIC countries. He also congratulated the people of Pakistan on their 75th Independence Day.

On Afghanistan, he said that the Trust Fund for Afghanistan has so far received $1 million donation from Nigeria and also hoped that more member states would also contribute in the fund soon.

Salient points of the Islamabad Declaration: the Declaration captures the overarching theme of “Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development”.

The Declaration contents are inspired by noble Islamic values and ideals enshrined in the OIC Charter; they are anchored in the principles and purposes of UN Charter.

The Declaration represents our assessment of the global political, security, humanitarian, economic and technological issues and our vision and views to address them. The Declaration articulates the resolve of OIC Member States to: promote and protect our common interests; support our just causes such as Palestine, Kashmir and others; to unify our efforts to address common challenges and leverage opportunities; uphold the rights and interests of Muslim minorities in non-OIC countries; pursue a shared vision for greater social, economic, scientific and technological development and integration within the Muslim world and beyond.

It reaffirms our collective desire to: promote harmony, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, better standards of life, human dignity and understanding among all peoples.

In the above context, the declarations contains a proposal for convening a Ministerial Meeting, later this year or next, to evolve solutions, develop mechanisms and tools to prevent conflicts and promote peace.

It welcomes the operationalization of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF).

It welcomes the unanimous decision of UN General Assembly to proclaim 15 March as International Day to combat Islamophobia, as well as, the CFM decision to appoint a Special Envoy in this regard.

It rejects terrorism in all forms and manifestations and attempts this evil to any country, religion, nationality, race or civilization. It reiterates OIC’s strong position against attempts to equate the legitimate struggle of peoples for self-determination with terrorism.

The Declaration also articulates our views on the devastating social and economic impacts of COVID-19, as well as, climate change on developing countries. It calls for a series of concrete actions on vaccine equity, debt relief, countering of illicit financial flows and fulfilment of climate financing commitments, as well as, technology transfer and capacity building.

It also acknowledges the growing role of innovation and emerging technologies in stimulating growth and digital transformation and expresses our shared resolve to promote linkages and partnerships.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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