Promoting a new spirit in Ummah.

For Pakistan it is a matter of great pride and honour that it is hosting the 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers at a critical time when the Muslim countries are facing daunting external and internal challenges. Muslims are under pressure in Europe where their cultural and social norms are being targeted. In India a deliberate campaign of reducing them to a lower status is raging with full complicity of the BJP government. The repression of Uyghurs in China's Xinjiang province continues although the government claims the situation has vastly improved. In Burma blatant oppression of Muslims bordering on genocide is the norm. In Sri Lanka prejudice of Muslims runs high and this is only to cite a few. It is expected the foreign ministers would seriously reflect on these issues and suggest measures to counter the overall decline of Muslims and the spread of Islamophobia. And give concrete policy guidelines to restore and regain the prestige and respect that we as Muslims and citizens of the world deserve. In this endeavour the responsibility of major Muslim countries would be critical.

The role of Saudi Arabia in conceptualising, funding and in the creation of OIC has been fundamental. The contribution of Turkey, Iran and several other countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, UAE and Qatar has been also noteworthy. Pakistan, clearly from its very inception, has been one of the leading proponents of Islamic solidarity and in bringing Muslim nations on a common platform. The role of late PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in raising the profile and potential of the OIC was indeed creditable. However, over a period of time the differences among the Muslim countries, lack of solidarity in standing on any major issue, whether it be Palestine, Kashmir, recognition of Israel or treatment of Muslims in India, China or Burma have weakened the organisation. Most of these issues are on the agenda and will be discussed. Although recent experience regarding recognition of Israel by certain Muslim countries once again confirms the reality that immediate national interests are paramount. Or these countries have come to the conclusion that the power differential does not give any hope for a change. So, it may be advisable to break the stalemate and engage with Israel and win at least the goodwill of the US and the West and boost one's economy. Although by taking a collective position on Israel, even if it meant recognition, then due to greater weightage...

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