A day after Syria was booted out of the 57-memember Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Muslim leaders continue to deliberate on the fate of the conflict-ridden Arab state.
Addressing the Emergency OIC meeting in the Saudi city of Makkah on Thursday, President Asif Ali Zardari called for an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria.
Emphasising the policy of non-interference he urged the international community to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said, “Pakistan desires that Syria must forge its own destiny in accordance with the aspirations of its people and we must respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Calling for an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria, the president also appealed to all sides in Syria to declare ceasefire during Eid-ul-Fitr.
Referring to neighbouring Afghanistan President Zardari urged the Muslim heads of states to support Pakistan in appealing various factions in Afghanistan to join the reconciliation process.
He said that Pakistan has been seriously affected by the unrest in Afghanistan adding that the fallout of the Mujahideen resistance to the former Soviet Union continues to haunt Pakistan.
Reiterating Pakistan’s support to Afghan-led reconciliation process, the president said that peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for the peace and stability of Pakistan.
“Indeed, it is vital for peace and stability of the region and the world,” the president remarked.
He said that there were more than three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and expressed the hope that the Afghan refugees will soon return to their homeland to rebuild their country.
Commenting on Pakistan’s commitment to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions, he expressed the hope that Pakistan’s engagement with India will be result-oriented.
Speaking about the large-scale genocidal killings of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, he called upon OIC to use its offices for promoting a process of protecting the life and property of the Muslims in that country.
“We are passing through a period of upheaval and turmoil and historical forces have brought mankind face to face with new challenges,” he said.
President Zardari also proposed the OIC to consider sending a Special Mission comprising heads of states and governments to conflict-ridden areas that affect the Muslims.He said that terrorism continues to haunt Muslim societies and has distorted the face of Islam.
“The war on terrorism has spread like a contagion and has so far cost the Pakistan more than 40,000 citizens, over 6,500 security personnel, destruction of infrastructure, nose-diving of production and growing unemployment,” adding that there was a need to collectively fight against the forces that encourage the militancy.
While reiterating Pakistan’s support and complete solidarity with the Muslim nations, the president concluded his speech, hoping that the summit will reinforce Islamic solidarity to overcome the challenges faced by the Muslim world. (With additional input from agencies)
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2012.