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Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar led Pakistan delegation to the 12th Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo on 6-7 February 2013. The Summit brought together leaders of Islamic countries to discuss political, economic and socio-cultural issues of significance to the Muslim World including the Palestine issue, situations in Syria and Mali, and Islamophobia.

Pakistan as a founder member of the OIC participated actively in the Summit and preparatory Ministerial and senior officials meetings. Pakistan was elected as Vice-Chair of the Summit.

In her statement to the Summit, the Foreign Minister underscored the need to address daunting challenges faced by the Muslim World through unity, solidarity, and a spirit of Islamic brotherhood. She briefed the participating leaders on the deepening of democratic process in Pakistan that has led to strengthening of democratic institutions, flow of resources to provinces and local governments, and enactment of legislations on protecting fundamental freedoms, women, children and minorities’ rights.

The Foreign Minister stressed that the need to find a just and peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute. She affirmed that Pakistan remained committed to the composite dialogue process with India to resolve all outstanding issues. The Secretary General OIC as well as Foreign Ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Malaysia also extended their support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their statements.

Reiterating Pakistan’s support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan was extending all possible assistance to intra-Afghan reconciliation process. Condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations she stated that terrorism could not be defeated by law enforcement and military operations only and there was a need to adopt a compressive approach.

The Foreign Minister expressed concern on the continuing trend of Islamophobia and emphasized the need for developing a unified strategy for preventing religious hatred and defamation of religions on the pretext of freedom of expression. Underscoring the need to increase intra-OIC trade and economic cooperation, the Foreign Minister presented various proposals for the advancement of science and technology under the patronage of the OIC Standing Committee on Science and Technology (COMSTECH). The President of Pakistan is the Chairman of COMSTECH, which is exploring the possibility of convening an OIC Summit on science and technology.

The OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir also met on the sidelines of the Summit. The meeting was co-chaired by the Foreign Minister and Secretary General OIC, and was attended by high officials from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Niger, who reiterated their continued support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, and the True Representatives of the People of Jammu and Kashmir also participated in the meeting. They presented to the Summit a Memorandum on the Kashmir cause.

The Summit adopted joint Communiqué, which besides addressing issues of interest and concern to the Muslim Ummah, reaffirmed its principle support to the People of Jammu and Kashmir for the realization of their legitimate right to self determination. It also called upon India to allow the OIC fact-finding mission, the international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations to visit Jammu and Kashmir. The Final Communiqué urged India to undertake independent investigation into the discovery of mass graves and ensure free and fair trial of those responsible of those heinous crimes. In addition, the Communiqué expressed deep concern on the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and welcomed Pakistan’s proposal to hold investigation through United Nations Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UMMOGIP).

On Afghanistan the Final Communiqué affirmed support to the people of Afghanistan, and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in hosting a large number of Afghan refugees.

The Summit expressed satisfaction on the progress made in establishing new OIC organs including the Independent Permanent Commission of Human Rights (IPCHR) and the OIC Women Development Organization (WDO). Pakistan is already a signatory to the Statute of WDO.

On the sidelines of the Summit, the Foreign Minister held a number of bilateral meetings including with the Foreign Ministers of Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and U.A.E. She exchanged views on regional and international developments and on the issues of interest to Muslim Ummah.

07 February 2013

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