ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan is set to host the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation today to discuss the Islamic world’s issues.

Pakistan is hosting the two-day CFM meeting of the OIC in Islamabad on March 22-23. 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 conference. They will also witness the Pakistan Day Parade on March 23 as guests of honour.

State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, who is in Islamabad, will attend as a special guest.

Senior officials from non-OIC countries, representatives from the United Nations system, regional and international organizations, including the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council will also participate.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will deliver the keynote address at the inaugural session. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will chair the conference.

The conference 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 the Sustainable Development Goals.

The CFM will review and assess the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. 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 conference will consider and adopt more than 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.

It also reflects the abiding commitment of the people of Pakistan to promote the bonds of Muslim fraternity and foster cooperative partnerships. The meeting will also discuss the Palestine and Afghan issues.

On arrival in Islamabad, Secretary General of OIC Hissein Ibrahim Taha said the OIC session will discuss a host of issues including the challenges faced by Muslim Ummah (nation).

Taha termed the adoption of resolution by the UN against Islamophobia an important step towards addressing this issue.

Later, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met the OIC Secretary General.  The Foreign Minister and the OIC Secretary General reviewed the agenda of the 48th CFM and exchanged views on the main outcomes expected from the Conference. They 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, the Foreign Minister expressed appreciation for 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 March 15 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.

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 Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Tunisia, Bosnia, Somalia, Niger, Gambia and Côte d’Ivoire besides Deputy Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Libya, Malaysia and Mozambique have also arrived in Islamabad to attend the OIC meeting.

Permanent Representative of Maldives to OIC Mohemed Khalil and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to OIC Mohammad Javed Patwary have also arrived in Islamabad.