MAKKAH Leaders from across the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met in Saudi Arabia early Saturday for the 14th session of the Islamic Summit, which follows two emergency Arab meetings the night before in Makkah criticising Irans behaviour and influence in countries like Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
The Muslim leaders discussed a breadth of critical issues, ranging from a spike in tensions in the Persian Gulf, to Palestinian statehood, the plight of Rohingya refugees and the growing threat of Islamophobia.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was among the leaders who spoke at the summit.
The premier started his maiden speech at the OIC by raising the issue of Islamophobia: “When someone from the West blasphemed our Holy Prophet (PBUH), I always felt the response from the Muslim Ummah and OIC was lacking.”
“The OIC us heads of states owes a responsibility to the Muslim world […] when somebody blasphemes our Prophet (PBUH), it is a failure of the OIC that we have not been able to explain to the other countries the love and affection we feel for our Holy Prophet,” said Prime Minister Imran.
“Some western countries are suffering from Islamophobia. The West should differentiate between moderate Muslim and extremist Muslim.”
“The international community has to respect the feelings of more than 1 billion Muslims,” he added.
“I also want to bring up the point that the Muslim world must pay more attention to science and technology,” the premier urged. “We must pay more attention to quality education and universities; an area in which the Muslim world lags. I fear the Muslim world may be left behind again and this is the best forum to raise this concern in.”
He also touched upon the plight of the people of Kashmir as well as Palestine, saying Pakistan supports the two-states solution and recognising East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
“The people of Kashmir must also have their right to self determination; us as a body must stand against the oppression happening with the Muslim world.”
At the summit, the premier met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The conference welcomed Pakistan’s offer to host the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad in 2021.
It commended Pakistan for its “generosity and hospitality for hosting Afghan Refugees in the past 40 years”, said a statement released by the Foreign Office.
Summit reiterates support for Kashmiris’ right to self determination
The statement released by the Foreign Office spokesperson, reiterated “the conference’s principled support for the legitimate right to self determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with UN resolutions”.
The final communique of the conference, while referring to the UN Kashmir report of 2018, called for an “expedited establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate the grave human rights violations” in Kashmir. It urged India to allow the Commission and other international organisations access to Indian-occupied Kashmir.
According to the statement, the conference approved Yousef Aldobeay of Saudi Arabia as OIC’s special envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, signifying its continued attention and focus on the Kashmir issue.