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Statement by Ms. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary and Head of Pakistan delegation to the 45th session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, Dhaka 5 May 2018

(2018-05-06) Mr. Chairman,

Secretary General,

Excellencies,

Brothers and Sisters,

Assalam-o-Alaikum,

I wish to begin by expressing our deep appreciation to the Government and people of brotherly Bangladesh for hosting this important meeting, extending warm hospitality and making excellent arrangements.

My delegation also commends Ivory Coast for its active role and contribution during its stewardship of the 44th CFM.

We wish to also pay tribute to the dynamic leadership exhibited by our Secretary General in advancing OIC mandates and programmes.

Brothers and sisters,

The world today and particularly the Islamic world is faced with complex challenges. Inter and intra state conflicts abound, foreign occupation of Muslim lands continues, the scourge of terrorism persists, illiteracy, poverty and food and water scarcity, among others, define contemporary landscape. Islamophbia has emerged as a new platform both to stigmatize Muslims and to leverage it for political gains.

Competition and confrontation among and between major powers is on the rise, accentuating risks to global and regional stability. There are attempts by some powerful states to consign multilateralism and institutions of global governance to narrow national interests.

This meeting is therefore a timely occasion to reflect on these worrying trendlines and develop a common agenda that is commensurate with the enormity of the challenges. The theme for our Conference - ''Islamic values for sustainable peace, solidarity and development'' - is both important and appropriate.

Brothers and sisters,

The tragedies of Palestine and Kashmir endure even after seventy years; the homes, cities and towns of these oppressed people remain occupied, their livelihood destroyed, their rights usurped and their dignity trampled upon. Their legitimate and just struggles continue to be expediently equated with terrorism. The state and people of Jammu and Kashmir remain under the illegal Indian occupation. Their fundamental rights, including their right to self-determination, continue to be denied.

As in the case of Palestine, the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir are being ignored.

Pakistan deeply values the OIC's consistent support for the realization of the inalienable right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination. The people of Jammu and Kashmir draw strength from the OIC's consistent support for their just cause. The geopolitical changes and global realignments can not deter the brave Kashmiri people from pursuing their legitimate rights.

I wish to express our gratitude to the members of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, the Secretary General and the OIC Special Envoy on Kashmir for reaffirming their support for the Kashmiri people during the meeting held last week in Jeddah.

The adoption of OIC resolutions on Kashmir during this session will be another reminder of the urgency for resolution of the dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. A fair and just resolution of this internationally recognized dispute and immediate halt to the suppression of human rights of the Kashmiris is essential to fostering sustainable peace in South Asia and beyond.

Brothers and sisters,

The US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and its plan to shift its Embassy is an affront to the global consensus on this important issue, as reflected in UN General Assembly and several OIC resolutions. People across continents, cultures and faiths are united in opposing this move.

The people and Government of Pakistan fully share these sentiments. Our Parliament has adopted unanimous resolutions strongly condemning this regressive decision.

Pakistan commends Turkey for convening the Extraordinary OIC Summit on this important issue. This session must renew our strong opposition to the US decision,call on the US to revisit its decision and reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people.

At the same time, it is vital to unify our ranks and evolve an effective response strategy to ensure that the universally recognized ideals of liberty, freedom and justice are accorded to the people of Palestine. Such a strategy must envisage introspection over our weakness and strengths. For the Muslim world to effectively respond to these transgressions, it is essential that we overcome our political differences, invest smartly in our people, promote science and technology, and above all muster the political will to shape our words into actions.

Brothers and sisters,

Pakistan is deeply concerned over continued strife and instability in Afghanistan. Peace and stability between Pakistan and Afghanistan are indivisible. Our national vision for peaceful neighbourhod, connectivity and development are intrinsically linked to peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, therefore, is closely working with the Afghan Government and the international community for reconciliation and dialogue that is owned and led by Afghanistan. We fully support President Ashraf Ghani's initiative for dialogue with Taliban. We are also actively engaged with our brothers in Afghanistan on a host of other issues ranging from economic development, refugees and border management. We will continue to do our utmost to advance peace, stability and development in Afghanistan.

Brothers and sisters, Pakistan expresses full solidarity with the Rohingya Muslims. They have been subject to untold misery, torture and displacement, with few parallels in recent years. Pakistan joins the international community in reiterating its strong condemnation of brutal violence and denial of legitimate rights of the Rohingyas. We wish to also take this opportunity to commend the people of Bangladesh for their generosity of spirit in hosting and looking after the Rohingyas. We also renew our call for early and full repatriation of Rohingyas to their homes in safety, dignity and honour.

Brothers and sisters,

Pakistan has special bonds of affinity and solidarity with the people of Africa in general and those part of OIC fraternity. We will continue to contribute in every way possible, diplomatically, politically and economically in support of African quest for its rightful place in the comity of nations.

Brothers and sisters,

Terrorism today represents one of the major threats to states, societies and people, regardless of geographic location, faith or national identity.

Terrorism has no faith, no creed or nationality. Equating any of these with terrorism is counterproductive. Pakistan underlines the need for evolving an approach anchored in cooperation and devoid of politicization so that this contemporary menace is defeated decisively. We also call for urgently addressing the root causes such as prolonged unresolved conflicts, continued denial of the right to self- determination of people under foreign occupation.

Notwithstanding the great losses in men and material, Pakistan has the unique distinction of turning the tide against terrorist violence. Our successes and achievements in mitigating this scourge are unparalleled. These strides are a net contribution from Pakistan to regional and international peace and security. Pakistan is prepared to share its CT experience and expertise with OIC states.

Brothers and sisters,

The continued misrepresentation of Islam, the growing phenomenon of Islamophobia in the West, negative stereotyping of Islam, its scriptures and holy personalities are a matter of deep concern for the Muslim world. In certain countries, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric has become part of the electoral politics. Electoral gains by political parties based on anti-Muslim agenda remains a matter of deep concern. We cannot accept malicious attempts to defame our religion under the pretext of protecting freedom of speech.

As an organization and as States, we must redouble efforts to coordinate and consult even more closely and reach out to important constituencies in the western world to reverse and halt these negative developments. Pakistan takes great pride in coordinating the OIC Group in Geneva to promote and protect Islamic causes and interests.

Brothers and sisters,

The OIC should also play a significant role in discussion over the reform of the Security Council. Our countries constitute more than one-fourth of the UN membership; we should therefore have proportional representation on an expanded Security Council, especially since the Council's agenda contains many items of direct concern to the Islamic countries.

As the second largest inter-governmental organization, we should play a pro-active role in the reform process and seek adequate representation in the reformed Security Council as laid down in numerous OIC resolutions.

Brothers and sisters,

Even as the Muslim Ummah is endowed with enormous human and natural resources, the Islamic world has largely been unable to leverage these strengths for the well-being and development of our people.

Many of our countries remain underdeveloped, economically, socially and technologically.Our youth are being misguided to a path of extremism and violence.

We must re-commit ourselves to invest smartly in our youth, nurture knowledge-based economies of the 21st Century, build synergies and harness our bonds of faith and culture in promoting progress and prosperity of our peoples. Pakistan is ready and willing to contribute in this challenging but achievable enterprise.

Development however is closely interlinked to peace and security. Our efforts towards sustainable development must therefore be cognizant of the fact that lasting peace can only be achieved by resolving disputes without which economic growth, realization of full economic potential of our countries, development as well as stability would remain unfulfilled.

Pakistan is an advocate and practitioner of this integrated approach. This is manifest in our policy of ''peaceful neighbourhood''. The vision of ''peace for development'' has consistently guided our efforts to help create an environment that fosters cooperation and development.

I thank you.





Islamabad

06 May 2018