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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office on Thursday explained that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech to the recently-concluded 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) was not in the spirit of “bloc politics” in which he had called for unity among Muslim Ummah to face the challenges together in the world which is heading towards a new “Cold War” with chances of the countries being divided into “blocs”.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that Pakistan does not subscribe to the bloc politics and explained that the prime minister’s speech to the OIC-CFM was not in that context, but it was in the context of unity among the Muslim Ummah to respond to the challenges together faced by the Ummah.

He said that the 48th Session of the OIC-CFM that Pakistan hosted from 22-23 March 2022, was a resounding success on all counts - from organizational and management points of view to substantive preparations and outcomes.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of independence, he said that the conference is a landmark in Pakistan’s history and in the context of our leading role in the Islamic world. “It was a great event for Pakistan’s diplomacy,” he said.

He said that the OIC foreign ministers adopted a whole range of significant outcomes - declarations, communiqués, and resolutions.

Presenting the context, objectives and achievements of the Conference, he said that the meeting took place in the backdrop of conflicts and tensions around the world, persistent denial of justice, and rising inequalities, adding that there are opportunities in the economic, scientific and technological areas that need to be tapped.

To overcome these challenges and to leverage opportunities, he added that partnerships are essential among the Islamic world and beyond.

“Therefore, Pakistan’s presentation of an overarching theme: “Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development” meant a realistic appraisal of current challenges and opportunities faced by the Muslim Ummah, and presentation of shared vision and plans to address them,” he added.

He said that the CFM articulated a clear message that the Muslim world was desirous of becoming a partner in peace, not conflict. “The CFM once again recognized Pakistan’s leading role in the OIC. The meeting also sent out a special expression of solidarity with the people of Pakistan on the country’s 75th anniversary of Independence,” he added.

He said that Pakistan’s prominent role in the OIC is evident by robust participation of over 800 foreign delegates; over 45 Ministerial level participants, high level dignitaries - from OIC Member and Observer States, and international and regional organizations, besides by the important and unprecedented participation by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as a special guest.

He said that the CFM was the 7th high-level OIC meeting convened by Pakistan since the organizations’ establishment in 1969: (two Summits in Feb 1974 and March 1997); five CFMs (Dec 1970, May 1980, April 1993, May 2007, and March 2022), besides three Extraordinary Sessions.

Major outcomes of the 48th OIC CFM session, he said, were Islamabad Declaration; forceful resolution on Jammu and Kashmir dispute; comprehensive Joint Communiqué and an Action Plan by the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir; strong resolution on Palestine; operationalization of OIC Humanitarian Trust Fund on Afghanistan; appointment of OIC Special Envoy on Islamophobia; resolution on threats to peace and security in South Asia - grave concerns over Indian missile launch incident of 9 March; Pakistan’s proposal to convene a Ministerial Conference to identify mechanisms and tools for promotion of peace and prevention of conflicts in the Muslim world.

He added that 140 resolutions on the entire range of political, security, humanitarian, economic, social, legal and financial issues; Muslim minorities, Islamophobia, arms control, terrorism, Covid-19 response, illicit financial flows and corruption, mediation and OIC reforms were adopted.

He stated that 20 resolutions were sponsored or co-sponsored by Pakistan: Jammu and Kashmir, arms control, peace and security in South Asia, UN Security Council reform, Muslim minorities, situation in Afghanistan, Islamophobia, countering terrorism, illicit financial flows, combating corruption, Covid-19 response, Pakistan’s 75th anniversary celebrations.

On Jammu and Kashmir dispute, he said that the OIC-CFM expressed strong support and solidarity with the Kashmiri people, their inalienable right to self-determination and rejection of Indian attempts to equate their just cause for freedom from Indian occupation with terrorism.

In the meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, he said that the Group adopted a comprehensive Joint Communiqué that articulates OIC’s unified position on the human rights, humanitarian, peace and security and legal dimensions of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

He said that the Group also adopted a forward-looking plan of action on Jammu and Kashmir outlining measures and activities by OIC Member States, the Contact Group, the OIC Secretary General and OIC Secretariat, the OIC’s Human Rights Commission, the OIC Special Envoy on J& K and OIC subsidiary organs to advance the Kashmir cause.

On Afghanistan, he said that report by the OIC Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan was presented to the CFM on progress achieved on decisions reached at the December 2021 Extra-ordinary Meeting, and on a comprehensive OIC vision for its continued engagement with the country.

He said that OIC Humanitarian Trust Fund operationalized during the CFM; Charter of the Fund signed by OIC SG and President of Islamic Development Bank on 21 March in presence of the foreign minister.

He said that the conference adopted a comprehensive resolution on Afghanistan covering political, security, humanitarian and economic aspects-sponsored by Pakistan, adding that an agreement was also reached to provide adequate financial support to the office of the OIC Special Envoy and to strengthen the OIC Mission in Kabul.

To a question about closure of girls’ schools in Afghanistan, he said that the Afghan authorities need to come up to the expectations of the international community, as well as, the OIC member states with regard to the girls’ education, human rights and other issues.

About the recognition of the Taliban regime, he said that this is an ongoing debate and Pakistan along with many other countries desires that it should be a collective decision.

About Pakistan’s election to different OIC bodies, he said that Ambassador Tasnim Aslam of Pakistan was re-elected unopposed as a Member of the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission.

During the preparatory process for the CFM Session, he said that Pakistan was unanimously elected as a Member of the governing bodies of three OIC institutions, namely Islamic Centre for Development and Trade, Casablanca, Islamic University of Technology, Dhaka, Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for the Islamic Countries (SESRIC), Ankara.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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