The Collective Voice of Muslim World
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation formally known as OIC is the collective voice of the Muslim world. Established in 1969, OIC with its 57 member states is the world’s second-largest organization after the United Nations. Amongst 57 members, 49 states are Muslim majority countries, covering four of the continents.
The organization was established upon a historical summit resolution that took place in Rabat, the Kingdom of Morocco on 12th Rajab 1389 Hijra (25 September 1969) following the criminal arson of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
The first-ever meeting of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministry (ICFM) was exercised in Jeddah in 1970. The conference led to the formation of a permanent headquarter in Jeddah. Later in 1973, the first OIC charter was adopted by the 3rd ICFM Session. The charter endorsed the principles and objectives of the organization and the primary purpose to strengthen the unanimity among the member states.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation
The organization aims to impel Muslim Ummah into an amalgamated body. Which not only represents Muslims by advocating all revered causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world but also to represent them at an international forum. Likewise, the organization maintains reasonable relations with United Nations and intergovernmental organizations to safeguard the Muslim’s interest to resolve conflicts and disputes, engaging member states.
OIC has been involved diversely to safeguard the true values of Islam and Muslims. Moreover, the organization has taken measures to eradicate the discrimination against Muslims under the umbrella of Islamophobia by removing the presumed misperceptions.
The 17th Extraordinary OIC Session Hosted by Pakistan
The leaders of Islamic Nations gathered for the 17th extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers hosted by Pakistan. The key focus of Islamabad was to devise a strategy, to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Availing the opportunity, Pakistan proposed a Six-Point-Strategy at the OIC summit to help the people of Afghanistan.
- Establish a channel within OIC to send off the nearest possible Humanitarian and Financial support to the people of Afghanistan.
- Boost investment in education, health, technical skills for Afghan youth.
- A group of experts comprising OIC, UN, and International and Financial institutions to be established to promote access to the banking system. Furthermore, ease liquidity challenges faced by Afghan people.
- Enhance food security of Afghan people
- Invest in building capacity of afghan institutions in countering terrorism and combating illicit drug trafficking.
- Engage with Afghan authorities to help meet expectations of international community inclusivity, especially human rights of women, and combat terrorism.
Pakistan warned of the grave consequences to the international community if Afghanistan’s economic meltdown continued. Islamabad urged the world leaders to find ways to engage with the new interim government of the Afghan Taliban. For the sake of preventing a humanitarian catastrophe.
Imran Khan emphasized in the meeting that if the world does not act on Afghanistan economic crisis, it will turn into the “World Biggest Man-Made Crisis”. Addressing the United Nations, Imran Khan appealed to delink with the Taliban government with 30 million Afghans. The fallout from the deepening crisis would lead to mass hunger, a flood of refugees, and a rise in extremism. The Six-Point Strategy will pave the way to help Afghans in need.
On contrary, this is an opportunity for the OIC to bolster its image which has not been very pleasing over the decades.
Who Attended the Meeting?
The meeting is the biggest conference on Afghanistan since the U.S troops withdrawal while the Taliban seized power, leaving Afghanistan into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. On top of this, the International community froze billions of dollars worth of assets. The United Nations has repeatedly warned that Afghanistan is on the brink of the world’s worst humanitarian emergency.
The meeting was attended by Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Delegates from the United States, China, Russia, European Union, United Nations were also present. All speakers pointed out that the Taliban government earnestly needs to protect the rights of minorities. Highlighting, Afghan women and girls need to be given the right to education as it is their absolute right.
The Taliban foreign minister stated that the new government considers human and women rights, as well as, participation by all Afghans as their duty. Recently, the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan announced a very effective decree based on women’s rights. Which will prove instrumental in giving them their rights. Nonetheless, the contours of the decree remain improbable.
One of the key features of the 17th OIC session was, the Summit remained dedicated towards humanitarian and economic support systems rather than mudslinging and finger-pointing that in one way or the other has been a part of the prior international conferences. All the member states of the Summit agreed on the formation of the humanitarian fund overseen by the Islamic Development Bank.
The conference aims to activate a trust fund in Afghanistan and all member countries are required to play their role in the relief of the Afghan people. A diversification of engagements can be seen when it comes to the Taliban side. An outlook that they are ready and open to engaging with other state holders and the international community regardless of their differences. Hoping all the embassies come back to Kabul to continue diplomatic missions and release their frozen assets.
OIC saving grace for Afghanistan?
Irrespective of the circumstances, OIC is a break or make moment for Afghanistan either to divide the audience or to reach a point to capture the wider audience that is thereby bringing them on the same page. This threat of Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terror-like elements remain persistent. Remains one of the reasons, that Pakistan’s emphasis on the immediate assistance of the Afghan people has been there.
Anything that takes place in Afghanistan will have a direct impact on Pakistan because of the longest border sharing between the two countries. The refugee influx for this time will not be limited to Pakistan alone as the situation is vicious.
In the latest, US State Secretary Antony Blinken thanks Pakistan for hosting a ‘vital’ OIC summit on Afghanistan, via tweet.
The OIC Extraordinary Session on Afghanistan is a prime example of our collective determination and action to help those most in-need. We thank Pakistan for hosting this vital meeting & inviting the global community to continue cooperating to support the Afghan people. #OIC4Afg— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) December 22, 2021
On the other hand, Russia a key organizer announced that Pakistan will Host the next Troika Meeting in Afghanistan after the OIC summit. From New Delhi to Washington, this time a clear message has been sent to every corner of the world that the air of terrorism which overtook Pakistan is now a story of the past. The Troika Conference will include Russia, Pakistan, China, the US, and the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. A win-win situation for Pakistan indeed.
The United Nations Security General Special Representative stated at OIC Summit, it stands with OIC on whatever decisions it takes on Afghanistan. Correspondingly, Turkey vigorously supported a major role for the OIC in mitigating Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis. Turkey underlined Uzbekistan and Pakistan’s contribution to mend conditions in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s Support for Afghanistan
With respect to Pakistan, it has always sought strategic stability and peace in Afghanistan for the benefit of the region. It’s the only player whose stance has remained stagnant since the beginning of the US War on Terror and has not tilted with the changing dynamics of the international political structure.
In 2001, President Musharraf proposed that the inclusion of the Afghan Taliban is very crucial in the power-sharing formula because they stand as a political reality of Afghanistan. American journalist, Steve Coll in his book writes that President Musharraf told Colin Powell (former United States Secretary of State) after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001,
“Extremism is not in every Taliban one knows for sure that there are many moderate elements.”
To which Powell agreed. But the great powers rejected the idea and hence, the result.
When the DG ISI met Pentagon officials right before the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. His statement was and still is true to this date,
“You need to help of the Afghan people, I beg you, I implore you, not to fire a shot in anger. It will set us all back many years. Don’t let the blood rush to your head.”
During President Musharraf’s visit to the US in 2001, he proposed a grand Jirga to seek a political solution in the wake of an emerging crisis by bringing the Taliban to the table of negotiation. This was to be done through a nonpartisan third party because the military effort is likely to fail. Customarily, the US rejected.
In 2009, president Biden asked General Kiyani, what kind of Afghanistan would represent success for Pakistan? Kiyani replied, a peaceful, friendly, and most importantly a stable Afghanistan. I have no desire to control Afghanistan and anyone who wants to control Afghanistan is ignorant of the history.
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Later in 2010, the US Pakistan strategic dialogue was held in which General Kiyani spoke briefly over the matter of Afghanistan and presented a 14 pager document entitled “Pakistan’s Perspective” to President Obama.
For Pakistan, the outcome of the war in Afghanistan was and is a matter of life and death. The stability and future of Afghanistan are directly proportional to the stability and future of Pakistan. It cannot wish for anything but other than what it wishes for itself. A peaceful, stable, and friendly Afghanistan provides us strategic depth, a concept that is totally misunderstood. Ignoring Indian military presence on the eastern border is a negligence duty for any Army Chief. Which took Obama three months to respond.
Pakistan has been a safe haven for refugees, even when the country was itself suffering from financial depression. 6 million Afghans either fled to Iran or Pakistan in the period of 1979 to 1989. According to Amnesty International Pakistan is ranked number 4 amongst the top 10 refugee-hosting countries. As of now, Pakistan is offering 300 scholarships to Afghan youth in Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, Computer sciences fields. Ashraf Ghani lived in Pakistan for 19 months. Back in 1992, Amrullah Saleh studied in Pakistan under a course titled “Post Conflict Reconstruction and Management”.
Even after the devastating pandemic consequences and the economic challenges that emerged out of it, Pakistan is doing its best, putting in maximum effort to take Afghanistan out of its catastrophic crisis. Chipping in $28m medical, food, and humanitarian assistance which includes 50,000 tons of wheat, emergency medical supplies. The government also reduced tariffs on Afghan export.
Fair to say, Prime minister Imran Khan is one of the most active leaders from Muslim Ummah and all over the world during the Afghan crisis. OIC was an expression of Pakistan nation to the full commitment towards the advancement of an issue and its concerns for promoting peace in the region. Standing for peace and stability in the region, Pakistan has proved to be a responsible and credible player in the region.
Pakistan has been standing with and for Afghanistan and will always be!
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