The two-day conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers will kick off today (Tuesday) with a heavy agenda covering Palestine, Kashmir and other contemporary challenges facing the Islamic world.

A number of ministerial delegations from the member countries arrived in the federal capital on Monday.

“Pakistan is hosting the 48th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on March 22-23, coinciding with the 75th anniversary celebrations of our independence,” according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

“The foreign ministers will also join the Pakistan Day parade as guests of honour in a show of solidarity with Pakistan and its people,” the statement added.

The statement said the Theme of the Session – “Partnering for Unity, Justice, and Development” – represents the member countries’ commitment to foster unity within the Ummah, advance the cause of justice for all Muslim peoples, and promote prosperity and sustainable development for OIC States.

“We will seek to build partnerships and bridges of cooperation across the Islamic world to address the myriad of challenges confronting us and to seize the multiple opportunities that present themselves to promote the collective interests of the Ummah,” Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said ahead of the conference.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will deliver a keynote address at the inaugural session. Apart from addressing core issues on the agenda, particularly Palestine and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the conference discussions will focus on key priorities such as countering Islamophobia, recovery from Covid pandemic, and diverse matters of peace and security, economic development, cultural and scientific cooperation and revitalising the role of the OIC.

The follow-up of the extraordinary session on Afghanistan will also be reviewed. Over 100 resolutions, likely to be adopted by the session, will articulate the OIC’s perspective on major contemporary issues.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is attending the OIC conference as a “special guest.” He will also address one of the sessions of the OIC conference. The Chinese top diplomat will also attend the Pakistan Day parade, where the recently inducted J-10C fighter jets provided by China would be on display.

Pakistan is hosting the OIC foreign ministers conference for the second time in less than four months. In December, Pakistan hosted the extraordinary session of OIC foreign ministers to discuss the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The extraordinary session had agreed to set up a humanitarian fund to be run by the Islamic Development Bank to help Afghanistan avert the humanitarian catastrophe.

On Monday, the Charter of the Humanitarian Trust Fund for Afghanistan was signed by the Secretary General, OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha and President Islamic Development Bank Dr Muhammad Sulaiman Al-Jasser, in the presence of the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The Trust Fund has been launched under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank. Its establishment was one of the key outcomes of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Islamabad on 19 December 2021.

Addressing the Charter Signing Ceremony, Qureshi emphasised that the dire humanitarian situation in Afghanistan warranted urgent action.

He requested the OIC member states, the Islamic Financial Institutions, donors and other international partners to make donations to the Trust Fund, recalling the OIC’s decision to play a leading role in delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

He maintained that humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people would constitute an important facet of Pakistan’s forthcoming Chairmanship of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.

The foreign ministers felicitated the president of the Islamic Development Bank, and his team for launching the Trust Fund well within the stipulated timeframe of three months.

He also acknowledged the efforts being made by the OIC secretary general and his special envoy for Afghanistan for galvanising international humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. He emphasised the need to redouble the efforts in view of the urgent and ascendant humanitarian needs of the Afghan people.

In addition to its continued, multi-faceted economic and developmental assistance, Pakistan has already announced an assistance package of Rs5 billion for Afghanistan. It remains firmly committed to supporting the Afghan People, in the wake of serious humanitarian challenges.


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