Another historic OIC moot

Pakistan has a deep and abiding commitment to the eternal Islamic virtues of amity and brotherhood. Promoting solidarity and cooperation among members of the Islamic Ummah is not only a foundational basis for our foreign policy, but also an element of faith for us. Pakistan quite successfully and enthusiastically hosted the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the Parliament House in Islamabad. The OIC Summit held at the level of Foreign Ministers addressed many topics and the activities of the OIC General Secretariat on implementing the resolutions adopted on various issues in the Islamic world, including the issue of Palestine and Al-Quds. The moot also discussed the developments in Afghanistan and their humanitarian consequences for the Afghan people and the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The OIC moot, centred on the theme of “Building Partnership for Unity, Justice and Development”, continued for two days and coincided with Pakistan Day celebrations as it was held on March 22 and 23, 2022. Availing a somewhat rare opportunity of when the host nation was celebrating its national day, the delegates from 57 member states as well as the Foreign Minister of China, who was the special guest, attended the Pakistan Day military parade. It was only in the third week of December 2021 that Pakistan had hosted 17th Extraordinary Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to highlight Afghan humanitarian crisis also in Islamabad. The Afghan Foreign Minister was conspicuous for his absence from the 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers and no explanation somehow came in from any side in this regard.
Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered the keynote address on the first day, wherein he said that the Muslims have failed Kashmiris and Palestinians; we are 1.5 billion people and yet our voice to stop this blatant injustice is insignificant, we are simply talking about human rights and called for promoting unity among Islamic countries and appreciated that menace of Islamophobia was being acknowledged as a reality, making a pointed reference to the recent adoption of a resolution by the UN General Assembly to observe March 15 as the International Day for Combating Islamophobia. OIC Secretary General, Hissein Brahim Taha, in his address declared that Indian Prime Minister Modi’s unilateral August 5, 2019 actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir were violations of the UN Security Council resolutions. He also made a pointed mention of Palestine and called for ending Israel’s forceful occupation and condemned the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. Through the Islamabad Declaration, the OIC countries resolved to continue making unified efforts to address common challenges and leverage opportunities besides upholding the rights and interests of Muslim minorities in the non-OIC countries. The joint statement also welcomed the operationalisation of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund which was one of the main decisions taken by the delegates from OIC I, the moot held in Islamabad as mentioned above. The Fund has since been operationalised by the Islamic Development Bank, whose President also attended the deliberations.
Salient features of the Islamabad Declaration were highlighted at a joint press conference by OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. It was good to note that the delegates to the historic moot expressed a determination to continue supporting the just causes of Palestine and Kashmir. The moot had deliberated the Kashmir issue, duly highlighting it and it was noted that the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir had dramatically changed and was deteriorating with every passing day after India’s steps on August 5, 2019. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also stated on the occasion, that the OIC Contact Group on Kashmir had a very good discussion and agreed to go beyond passing a resolution and put together an action plan under which different member states would be meeting regularly and coordinating their positions on the Kashmir dispute and monitoring the ever-deteriorating human rights situation in IIOJK. The moot, during its deliberations on host of subjects and issues confronting the Muslim Ummah directly and indirectly, rejected terrorism in all forms and manifestations and attempts to link this evil to any country, region, nationality, race or civilisation; also articulated views on the devastating social and economic impacts of pandemic of COVID-19 as well as climate change on developing countries; acknowledged the growing role of innovation and emerging technologies in stimulating growth and digital transformation and agreed to continue promoting linkage and partnership, and also discussed the threats to peace and security in South Asia.
It is sincerely hoped and wished that OIC Member countries will go beyond the resolutions adopted at the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, take practical steps for their implementation, and more importantly, exert pressure and influence on India and Israel for solving the lingering Kashmir and Palestine issues in accordance with the aspirations of the people of both occupied territories and resolutions of the UN Security Council.

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