ISLAMABAD: Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu will arrive today (Sunday) to personally see the devastation caused by the countrywide floods, as the Muslim world is being criticised for doing little.
The top OIC official is visiting Pakistan almost a month after the natural catastrophe hit the country, killing over 1,600 people and affecting 17 million.
Ihsanoglu’s tour only comes after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote letters to his Muslim counterparts and the OIC, seeking help from the Islamic World in dealing with the disaster.
The response from the Muslim world is lukewarm, as out of the 57-nation OIC, only 13 countries have so far committed or provided relief goods for flood victims.
According to the figures complied by the National Disaster Management Authority and made available to The Express Tribune, these 13 countries have so far pledged over $240 million.
However, if Saudi Arabia is taken out of the list, the rest of the Muslim world’s contribution comes to mere $28 million. Saudi Arabia is far ahead from the other Muslim nations with a commitment of $221 million, including $107 million generated by the Saudi public.
Officials say they are certainly disappointed with the response from Muslim countries, particularly from the oil-rich Gulf States. Countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and others could have given much more than the few million dollars they have committed so far, officials said.
“We expect that the visit of the OIC secretary-general will help sensitise the Muslim world about the magnitude of the disaster,” a foreign office official said.
Ihasanoglu will hold formal discussions with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on how the OIC can mobilise Muslim nations to generate resources for flood survivors.
Last week, Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan claimed that it was always America, which helped Pakistan in times of crisis. “The people of Pakistan will see that when crisis hits, it’s not the Chinese. It’s not the Iranians. It’s not other countries. It’s not the EU. It’s the US that always leads,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2010.
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