Islamabad, May 28, 2015 (PPI-OT):
Secretary General, Iyad Ameen Madani,
Excellency, the Foreign Minister of Kuwait,
I congratulate His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Kuwait on assumption of the Chairmanship of the 42nd Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers. Excellency, your Chairmanship has Pakistan’s full support and cooperation. I express our deep gratitude for the warm hospitality extended to us and for the excellent arrangements that our Kuwaiti brothers have made for the Session.
This Session is being held under the theme of “Joint Vision to Strengthen Tolerance and Reject Terrorism”. Considering the present unprecedented upheaval in the Muslim world, the selection of this theme is timely and wise.
During the past decade, the world has seen unprecedented chaos and violence triggered by a variety of factors and forces. With globalization and new technological advancements, controls at the borders have not been very effective for the security and stability of many countries.
The signs of changing shifting alliances in the Middle East are also seriously affected by the current crisis in Syria and Iraq. Many security-related regional issues are both complex and unpredictable. The IS phenomena is a major manifestation of terrorism in the region. The quest for power in Syria and Iraq still rages on with no end in sight. The engagements of the major powers, particularly the U.S., Russia and China, have seen strategic shifts, but not yet found a new equilibrium.
It is imperative to understand the complex reality of the political turmoil in the region. It is a new great game which seems to be emerging: Patterns of competition and pattern of cooperation coexist simultaneously in this Game.
In dealing with these challenges; I would like to emphasize the following five points:-
i- First, promoting respect for differing viewpoints. Any tendency to impose a certain ideology on others by force is not in line with the teachings of Islam.
ii- Second, building and strengthening voices against intolerance, bigotry should be high priority along with concrete efforts in the media to respond to hate-speeches and to defame Islam.
iii- Third, making joint and concerted efforts towards resolution of all outstanding disputes and elimination of injustices which are some of the root causes of instability and extremism.
iv- Fourth, employing all state institutions, including legal and law enforcement machinery to increase mutual cooperation, for eliminating terrorist financing.
v- Fifth, translating our commitment to socio-economic well being of our peoples into concrete actions by ensuring good governance and the rule of law.
As members of the OIC are aware, Pakistan has been seriously affected by terrorism, specially after 9/11. In these 14 years, 60,000 people including 10,000 security personnel have lost their lives in bomb blasts and suicide attacks. Our economic losses are estimated at over $100 billion.
In the past four years, we have intensified our counter terrorism efforts. The military operation “Zarb-e-Azb” launched in June 2014 in North Waziristan has achieved very positive results. The terrorists want to break our resolve by attacking soft targets. But we will not rest till the elimination of terrorism from our country. A twenty point National Action Plan, announced by the Prime Minister in January this year, aims at addressing the issue of extremism and terrorism comprehensively.
I take this opportunity to assure this house that Pakistan will extend its full support and cooperation to all OIC initiatives to develop and implement the “Joint Vision to Strengthen Tolerance and Reject Terrorism”.
At the global level many important initiatives are in progress to promote peace and security, protect human rights and intensify efforts for economic and social development. In this context the UN system is evolving sustainable development goals for the next 15 years, from 2015 to 2030. OIC can play an active role in this gigantic exercise.
Being the second largest international organization after the UN, the OIC countries must continue to work together to safeguard their interests, in particular in the reform of UN Security Council, by ensuring adequate representation in an expanded Council.
The continued plight of the people of Palestine has been a major challenge for the conscience of the international community. Pakistan has always supported and will continue to support the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and their aspiration for the creation of an independent state of Palestine with Al-Qudus Al-Sharif as its capital.
Alongside Palestine, Kashmir remains the oldest unresolved dispute on the UN Security Council agenda. We seek a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir Dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions. We thank our OIC brethren for supporting our stance on the Jammu and Kashmir Dispute. The work of the OIC Contact Group is a source of strength for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan supports Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in Afghanistan. During his visit to Afghanistan this month, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has reiterated Pakistan’s commitment and support for peace and stability in Afghanistan. As co-chair, Pakistan will host the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process this year.
We welcome the UN Security Council resolution (2216) on the situation in Yemen adopted on 14 April 2015. We support unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen. We have announced humanitarian assistance of US$ One Million for the brotherly people of Yemen.
We express our concern over the continuing civil conflict and deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Syria. We desire to see end of violence and return of peace and stability in Syria.
Pakistan supports the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and early restoration of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno Karabakh and other Azeri territories occupied by Armenia.
We also extend our support to the Muslim monitories in other parts of the world, including to the people of Turkish Cypriot state and the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. I hope the OIC will not only urge the Government of Myanmar to restore the rights of Rohingya Muslims but also assist about 8000 people who are drifting on the high seas in small boats looking for a safer shelter.
Pakistan will host the Islamic Summit on Science and Technology in the first half of November 2015. The Summit would provide us an opportunity to enhance our collaboration in the field of science and technology. We look forward to active participation at the highest level from all member States.
Extensive cooperation and collaboration amongst the member states and with the world are crucial for the academic, scientific and socio-economic progress in our countries. The OIC’s Ten-year Programme of Action (2016-2025) is under consideration. It should have well thought out, doable road map with practical goals to help us all achieve national economic and development objectives.
Let me conclude by reiterating that we all face huge challenges in diverse fields. To meet them, we shall expand intra-OIC Cooperation and build synergies. Our strength lies in solidarity and a strong sense of brotherhood. Let us work together to channelize this strength for peace and prosperity of our people.
I thank you.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan