Saturday Dec 18, 2021
At the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's insistence, Pakistan will host the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad today (Saturday).
The purpose of the OIC meeting is to address the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and turn the world's attention to the people of the war-ravaged country, who are at severe risk of starvation and disease.
Prime Minister Imran Khan will deliver the keynote address at the event. Islamabad is playing an instrumental role in gathering the world and the Taliban on the same platform in hopes to find a lasting solution to the crises faced by Afghanistan.
The Afghan delegation attending the moot is being led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Pakistan has time and again emphasised that the lack of prompt response would lead to food shortages for some 22.8mn people and affect about 3.2mn children with malnutrition.
"The OIC Extraordinary session in Islamabad would prove to be a stepping stone in finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and this was also an opportunity for world capitals to know about ground realities from Taliban representatives," said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi earlier.
"In case of such a crisis, the country's neighbours, including Pakistan, and European Union states, would have to prepare for another influx of refugees. We are expecting some financial support from the OIC member states."
Special representatives on Afghanistan from the United States, Russia, China and European Union would also attend the event, the Pakistani foreign minister had said.
Besides the foreign ministers from the OIC member states and observers, participants would also include special invitees from the United Nations system, international financial institutions and some non-member states including the US, UK, France, China, Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan.
"Besides expressing solidarity with the Afghan people, the CFM is expected to explore avenues for containing and reversing the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, especially in terms of food shortages, displacement of people and a potential economic collapse," said the Foreign Office.
Later a meeting of the Troika Plus – comprising Pakistan, China, Russia and the United States — P5 countries and Germany, Japan, Italy and Australia would also be held in Islamabad to discuss the Afghan situation.
A delegation from Saudi Arabia including Afghan affairs department head Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Saud al-Kabir and Prince Jiluwi bin Turki have arrived. Official sources say that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan will also attend the conference.
According to the tentative programme for Saturday, the conference will include statements from Foreign Minister Qureshi, Saudi Foreign Minister Farhan Al-Saud, who is also the OIC Summit Chair, Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary-General of the OIC, statements on behalf of OIC Regional Groups (Asia, Africa, Arab) and a final statement by President Islamic Development Bank, Dr Muhammad Al-Jasser.