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Statement by Foreign Minister of Pakistan at 39th Session of Organisation of Islamic Conference meeting at Djibouti

Islamabad, November 15, 2012 (PPI-OT): Your Excellency, Mr. Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Foreign Minister of Djibouti,

Your Excellency, Secretary General OIC Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

At the outset I would like to join all my colleagues in strongly condemning the air strikes in Gaza, which regrettably coincide with the beginning of our new Hijri year.

Let me first of all congratulate you on assumption of the Chairmanship of the 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers. Your inspiring address will guide our deliberation on issues of mutual concern to the Muslim Ummah. I assure you of my delegation’s full support.

I would also like to express my pleasures of having the opportunity to come to your beautiful country and appreciation to the government and people of Djibouti for the excellent arrangements and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation.

Our gratitude also goes to His Excellency Yerzhan KasYkhanov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan for his able stewardship of the 38th CFM.

Let me also convey the greetings of peace and Salam from President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Ashraf and the 180 million of people of Pakistan to our brothers and sisters in the Muslim World.

Excellencies,

This is the fourth gathering of the OIC states in a space of three months. It is reflective of the Organization’s enhanced importance as a credible actor in international affairs on issues of importance. While this is a manifestation of the resolve of the Muslim Ummah through the OIC to proactively respond to the multitude of daunting problems and issues confronting us, it is also a reflection of the multi-polarity and vastness of challenges facing the Muslim Ummah.

Bold decisions taken at the Fourth Extraordinary Summit were a step forward in renewing commitments for solidarity, development and cooperation among OIC countries. Particularly, the initiative of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques to establish an office of dialogue on sectarian harmony deserves our collective appreciation and whole heated support.

Excellencies,

We are deeply saddened and concerned over the continuing civil conflict and deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Syria. We strongly condemn the continuing bloodshed by all parties in Syria which must be stopped urgently.

End of violence is imperative for return of social stability in the country and commencement of negotiations. Democratic aspirations of the people of Syria can only be achieved in an enabling environment of peace.

The prolonged instability in Syria would have serious consequences for the entire region. There are also reports of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups’ infiltration in Syria. We must take steps to deny extremists and terrorists a safe haven and remain deeply mindful of the unintended consequences of the decisions that we make.

Pakistan has adopted a position on the situation in Syria based on principles of international law, the United Nations Charter and the rules of inter-state conduct. We believe that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria must be respected and guaranteed. At the same time the international community must create an enabling environment to allow various forces within Syria to enter into a meaningful dialogue.

Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,

We are shocked to note the growing trend of Islamophobia. Freedom of expression cannot be a pretext for insulting the religious sentiments of others.

Pakistan believes that religious and cultural diversity are a source of mutual enrichment and development of the socio-cultural development of humankind. Promotion of dialogue, understanding and cooperation among religions, cultures and civilizations is important for peace, security and harmony of the world.

Therefore we strongly condemn the recent release of defamatory film and re-publication of offensive caricatures under the pretext of freedom of expression. These hideous acts of religious hatred, discrimination and violence stand in clear violation of international protocols and the norms of freedom of religion and belief. Such Islamophobic acts of extreme intolerance are an affront to human dignity and are aimed at disrupting and dividing peoples and societies.

The OIC member countries must work with the international community to make concerted efforts to halt such incidents, promote shared values and work resolutely to develop a legally binding international instrument for preventing and criminalizing religious hatred, defamation, violence and discrimination on the basis of religion.

It is heartening to note in this respect the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration, on condemnation of the recent release of defamatory material, by the OIC Annual Coordination Meeting held in New York. It is our earnest desire to achieve social harmony and order in multi-ethnic and diverse societies.

Excellencies,

Pakistan has always supported the just causes of Muslim Ummah. Pakistan extends full support to the Palestinian people for their inalienable right to self-determination and for the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. We will continue to endorse at all levels full membership of the Palestine State to the United Nations.

Alongside Palestine, Kashmir remains the oldest unresolved issue on the UN Security Council agenda and a source of constant conflict between Pakistan and India. Human rights violation and persecution of the Muslim majority remain rampant in Indian occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan and India have resumed the dialogue process. Our dialogue process is guided by the commitment of leadership to find peaceful and mutually acceptable solutions to all outstanding issues including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Pakistan remains committed to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions. We deeply appreciate OIC’s consistent support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their just struggle for right to self-determination.

Pakistan reiterates its solidarity with the people of Turkish Cypriot state. We also support the people of Mali in their rightful cause.

On regional front, Afghanistan is a neighbor and brotherly country. Pakistan has been seriously affected by prolonged strife in Afghanistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is vital for peace, development and prosperity of Pakistan.

Pakistan has remained supportive to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan as long as it is led and owned by Afghans. We are committed to provide our fullest cooperation to Afghanistan to help it steer through transition period, and beyond.

Emanating from regional strife terrorism has emerged as the most serious challenge of our times. Pakistan has suffered enormously from terrorism, both in human and material terms. More than 37,000 Pakistani men, women and children including over 10,000 personnel of armed forces and law enforcement agencies have lost their lives over the past 10 years. Our economic losses exceed US$ 70 billion.

Notwithstanding the huge losses, we remain un-wavered in our resolve to eliminate terrorism from our country and beyond. History has taught us that terrorism knows no national or regional boundries.

Pakistan and its people are deeply saddened over the repression of Muslim Minority of Rohingya in Myanmar. We support Rohingya Muslims in regaining their basic human rights.

Excellencies, my Brothers and Sisters

I have, like many colleagues before me, enumerated many festering issues that face the OIC member countries collectively as a challenge, such as that of Palestine-unresolved for more than 60 years- teaches us some important lessons.

One- Unity- must remain an uncompromisable good-together we are strong and powerful and have the capacity not only to resolve all issues festering in the Muslim World but also contribute towards peace and development in the whole world. Alone, or separately, we will be weak and susceptible to fall. What must unite us is the first and foremost responsibility we have to the wellbeing- the social, political, economic- of the citizens of all Member States.

We must not compromise on the collective good for the Muslim world for personal or parochial interests.

Secondly, we must be open and willing to look into why we have stood by while the flag of Islam- that of peace, of tolerance, of progress have been allowed to be tarnished by those who use the name of our religion to use bombs and bullets to slaughter innocent women, children and men sometime on our land, sometimes in our region, sometime in our world.

Thirdly, we must move beyond problem of management and towards problem resolution. Till the time the root causes of festering problems in the Muslim World are resolved by the Muslim world resolutely in the lead, we will continue to add on to the list of issue that confront us.

Lastly, brothers and sisters it is important that we not blame our failures and what is happening in many regions and countries on the hegemonic designs or deceit of others. It is time to take our destiny in our own hands. It is time to not look at others to find excuses for our own shortcomings.

Excellencies,

The OIC Ten-Year Programme of Action forms a clear and well-defined road-map for tackling contemporary challenges. We must ensure its complete implementation in order to achieve its objectives of socio-economic development.

Pakistan contributed in the establishment of the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission and the OIC Women Development Organization. Pakistan hopes that OIC will soon be able to operationalize these new structures and finalize all modalities.

In its quest to improve culture of scientific research and reduce brain drain from the OIC region, COMSTECH (OIC Standing Committees on Scientific and Technological Cooperation) has financed more than 400 research projects in 28 member states of OIC so far. It has also opened three new Inter Islamic Networks in Virtual Universities, Nanotechnology, and Technology Parks.

Science Technology and Innovation Organization (STIO), conceived during our 34th meeting, has moved a step nearer to becoming operational. Being an implementing arm of COMSTECH, STIO will be crucial in promoting our agenda of Science and Technology.

As the host of COMSTECH, Pakistan continues to push forward the agenda for science and technology for the mutual benefit of science and technology infrastructure in OIC countries.

We are providing scholarships to a growing number of diplomats in the Foreign Service Academy Islamabad and ready to expand this cooperation with OIC Member States.

We are also glad at the excellent response to the proposal of networking of Ombudsman Offices. We are currently in preparation of hosting the first meeting of OIC ombudsman offices in Islamabad.

Economic and trade cooperation among the OIC member states is essential for enhancing development and forging unity. Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) with its permanent headquarters in Karachi is playing an important role in the promotion of commerce and trade among OIC Member States. It should be further strengthened to perform its mandated functions.

Pakistan believes that OIC, being the second largest inter-governmental organization, must play an active role in enhancing mobility, strengthening solidarity, and improving governance for sustainable development of the countries of Muslim Ummah.

Let me conclude by saying that we face huge challenges in diverse fields. While seeking inspiration in the lofty principles of the eternal message of Islam and teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), we can transform these challenges into opportunities through solidarity and building synergies for sustainable development.

Our strength lies in solidarity and a strong sense of brotherhood. Let us work together to channelize this strength for the progress and prosperity of our people.

May Allah bless us all.

For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Personal Secretary
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604

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