Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said that Pakistan’s stance on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan was “growingly getting recognition,” with the world joining its voice.
He was talking to reporters at Parliament House after examining the arrangements for the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which is set to take place on Sunday.
From the very first day, Qureshi said that Pakistan told the world about the looming humanitarian crisis and that the situation could also lead to an economic collapse if the banking system remained dysfunctional for long.
He was of the view that the economic collapse of Afghanistan would not only impact immediate neighbours or region but the world in the form of the exodus of refugees as well as terrorism.
The objective behind hosting the moot was to attract the world attention towards the food shortage, plight of the children, and the financial difficulties in the war-torn country, he added.
FM Qureshi said: “Today, the world seems to be getting convinced on this. Around 11 NATO commanders who had served in Afghanistan are also pointing toward this. The ambassadors who served in Kabul and are fully cognisant of the ground realities have written in their op-eds asking the Biden administration to review its policy.”
The foreign minister, who earlier examined the arrangements, said that envoys had urged the US administration to think of the people of Afghanistan for whose welfare, the US had made a huge investment. Pakistan had been calling the world not to show any indifference and many voices were joining it including from the European Union, he added.
“Around 39 US congressmen have written a letter to US Secretary of State Blinken, saying ‘it is our responsibility and moral obligation to avert the humanitarian crisis.’ New thinking is emerging and this is the very objective of this extraordinary conference,” FM Qureshi said.
As many as 437 delegates had registered themselves to be part of the meeting, he said, adding that a huge number of foreign and deputy foreign ministers are arriving.
Qureshi said the senior officials of the OIC countries would meet on Saturday (today) at the venue to discuss the agenda and work plan and was confident of reaching a consensus.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will be very important and historic. We are at the threshold of history. If we take the right step, it can bring in regional, peace, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan. God forbids, if we showed negligence, or not took the timely decision, then Afghanistan can face a new crisis,” the foreign minister warned.
Foreign Affairs Special Secretary Raza Bashir Tarar, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar and senior officers accompanied the foreign minister. He examined the conference hall, facilitation counters for delegates, medical centre, media centre, and different meeting rooms and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.
He said that on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directives, all possible arrangements had been made at the venue to facilitate the delegates.
Foreign dignitaries’ arrival
Interim Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi arrived here on Saturday to attend the 17th extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers.
Muttaqi, leading the delegation, was received by State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan at the Islamabad International Airport.
Talking to reporters, Muttaqi appreciated Pakistan’s contribution to the peace and development of Afghanistan, saying that it was “unprecedented”.
The interim Afghan FM said that he was grateful to Pakistan, especially PM Imran for hosting such a meeting to discuss and find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Khan said that he welcomed the interim Afghan FM on behalf of the prime minister, government and people of Pakistan.
The minister said that Pakistan “always stood” by the people of Afghanistan and would continue to do so in future as well. He expressed hope that the OIC meeting would have a positive outcome.
Foreign Ministers of Bosnia and Malaysia Dr Bisera Turkovic and Saifuddin Abdullah also arrived here. Defence Production Minister Zubaida Jalal received both the foreign ministers along with their entourage.
Talking to the reporters, Bosnian FM Bisera Turkovic congratulated PM Imran Khan for organising the gathering on the Afghanistan situation.
Delegates of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Oman have also arrived in Islamabad.