Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will leave for Niger today where he will lead Pakistan’s delegation at the 47th session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers scheduled to take place in Niamey on November 27-28.
According to a statement released by the Foreign Office (FO) on Wednesday, the foreign minister will highlight the human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir in the wake of India’s illegal and unilateral action of August 5, 2019 and subsequent measures to change the demographic structure of the territory.
“Qureshi will also highlight rising incidents of Islamophobia and hate speech against Muslims and emphasise the need for the unity of the Islamic world to combat the scourge of Islamophobia and promote inter-faith harmony,” the statement said.
On the sidelines, the minister will hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts/heads of delegations of member states, the FO said.
The representatives of 57 OIC members states and five observer states are expected to attend the meeting.
“During the two-day session, the council will discuss a wide range of issues confronting the Muslim world with particular focus on combating Islamophobia and defamation of religions, Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the situation of Muslim communities and minorities in non-OIC states,” the FO said.
The meeting will also discuss the OIC 2025 Programme of Action and various matters related to promoting civilizational, cultural and religious dialogue. The council will also hold a brainstorming session on “Security and Humanitarian Challenges Confronting African Sahel States Members of the OIC”,” the statement added.
The OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah. It the second largest international organisation after the United Nations. With 57 members and five observers, the OIC membership spans over four continents.
The organisation has completed 50 years of its existence. Pakistan is one of the founding members of the OIC and has actively contributed towards the objectives and goals of the OIC.
The meeting of the Council of Foreign Minister comes days after media reports emerged stating that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made a clandestine visit to the northern Saudi city of Neom to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a charge denied by the kingdom.
The reports had set off a flurry of commentary on what would have been a major step forward in the Arab world’s engagement with Israel.
Israel’s normalisation deals with the UAE and Bahrain, dubbed as the Abraham Accords, were brokered under US President Donald Trump, who will leave office in less than two months after his defeat in recent elections.
There has been speculation Washington may push for other Arab states to join the accords before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. Sudan has also agreed in principle to normalise ties with Israel.
Editorial: There is nothing wrong with Muslim states pursuing ties with Israel as long as the Palestine issue is resolved
While Israel has hailed the deals as historic diplomatic agreements, the Palestinians have condemned them and urged Arab states to hold firm until Israel ends its occupation of the Palestinian territory and agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has reiterated that it is not reconsidering its Israel policy and has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “statements in this context have been clear and unequivocal”.