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Pakistan Offers to Host OIC Summit on Afghanistan

by Newsweek Pakistan

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in video message, offers to host upcoming OIC meeting in Islamabad

Convened by Saudi Arabia, the Council of Foreign Ministers moot seeks to address the humanitarian crises facing the war-torn state

Pakistan on Monday offered to host an upcoming session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that has been convened by Saudi Arabia to discuss the prevailing situation in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan fully endorses this initiative,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a video statement. “We also offered to host this meeting in Islamabad on Dec. 17, 2021. We are confident that the OIC member states will endorse this offer,” he added.

According to Qureshi, Afghanistan—being a founding member of the OIC and a part of the Islamic Ummah—was closely linked to the rest of the Muslim world. “Today, our Afghan brothers and sisters need us more than ever before,” he emphasized, reiterating concerns that Afghanistan was facing a serious humanitarian crisis that would see millions of Afghans, including women and children, experience shortages of food, medicine, and other essential living supplies.

Stressing that the advent of winter had exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, the foreign minister urged the OIC to help alleviate the urgent needs of the Afghan people through immediate and sustained support, as well as continued engagement that would help ensure the wellbeing and prosperity of the war-torn state.

The first session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Islamabad in January 1980, had also discussed the situation in Afghanistan, he said, noting that the upcoming session’s gathering in the federal capital would reaffirm the Muslim bloc’s “abiding solidarity with and support” to Afghans. “I am confident that the meeting would consider concrete steps to help address the humanitarian and economic challenges facing Afghanistan,” he added.

The foreign minister concluded his statement by saying he looked forward to welcoming the OIC foreign ministers for the session in Islamabad.

Since the Taliban took over Kabul in August, activists have warned that the humanitarian situation in the country has worsened. According to the World Food Program, around 23 million Afghans are on the brink of starvation if they are not provided urgent assistance. The situation has been compounded by the U.S. refusing to unfreeze $9.5 billion in assets of the Afghan central bank until the Taliban fulfill their pledges to ensure rights for women and establish an inclusive government representing all the ethnic groups of Afghanistan.

Prior to the withdrawal of West-backed forces, approximately 75 percent of Afghanistan’s budget was reliant on international aid; this has all been withdrawn with the return to power of the Taliban.

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