Pakistan to intensify coop with Islamic world: FO

| Foolproof security for OIC meeting ensured

Indian missile incident raises several fundamental questions


ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan yesterday said it aimed to build partnerships and bridges of cooperation across the Islamic world as Islamabad prepares to host the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting. Speaking at a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed said Pakistan wants to promote collective interests of the Ummah (nation) and to address the myriad of challenges confronting Muslims.

“Flawless administrative and security arrangements have been made for the two-day 48th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, beginning from Tuesday (March 22),” he said. The spokesperson said theme of the Session – ‘Partnering for Unity, Justice, and Development’ – represented Pakistan’s commitment to foster unity within the Ummah, advance the cause of justice for all Muslims, and promote prosperity and sustainable development for OIC Member States.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan will make a keynote address at the inaugural session. The core issues on the agenda, particularly Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir will be addressed during the Conference,” he added. He said the OIC discussions will also focus on key priorities such as countering Islamophobia, recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and diverse matters of peace and security, economic development, cultural and scientific cooperation and revitalizing the role of the OIC. He said Pakistan was ready in all respects to receive the participating Foreign Ministers and delegations as “our honoured guests.”

He mentioned that the session was coinciding with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Pakistan's independence and all the OIC Foreign Ministers will also join at the Pakistan Day Parade as guests of honour, in a show of solidarity with Pakistan and its people.  The resolution reflected the sentiments of more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world. “This is the first time ever that the UN has adopted a resolution specifically recognizing Islamophobia as a contemporary form of discrimination,” he added. Prime Minister Imran Khan, he added, was the first Muslim leader to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN – in his first address to the UNGA in September 2019.

Ahmed said Pakistan had also consistently emphasized the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, including self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes and equal security for all.  He said Pakistan believed these principles should be applied consistently and universally.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had engaged both Ukraine and Russia, the neighbouring countries, key partners in Europe and others and is willing to make all possible contribution to reinforce efforts for a diplomatic solution.  On India, he referred to the grave incident of unprovoked and flagrant violation of Pakistan’s airspace by an Indian supersonic missile that fell to ground near Mian Channu causing damage to civilian property on March 9. The flight path of the missile also endangered many international and domestic commercial flights both in Indian and Pakistani airspace as well as human life and property on ground,” he said.

He said taking note of that statement, the Ministry issued a Press Release on March 12 in which questions were raised regarding India’s security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorized launch of missiles in a nuclearized environment.

The Indian CdA (Charge d Affairs) was again called in that day and formally conveyed the Government of Pakistan’s serious concerns on the Indian press statement. A demarche was also handed over,” he said.   The spokesperson said the grave nature of the incident raises several fundamental questions regarding security protocols and technical safeguards against accidental or unauthorized launch of missiles in a nuclearized environment. “Therefore such a serious matter cannot be addressed with simplistic explanations proffered by the Indian authorities,” he contended.

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