ISLAMABAD: The World Islamic Forum (WIF), a think tank of Muslim countries, has conferred a special award on Chief of Army Staff Gen Raheel Sharif for his counter-terrorism efforts.
The award was given during the two- day 6th conference of the WIF that concluded on Sunday. Scholars from various countries attended the conference.
According to the organisers, the army and its chief were given the `Istanbul Special Islamic Award’ for demonstrating leadership in the struggle against terrorism with clarity, commitment and courage.
Under a National Action Plan recently adopted by the political leadership, Gen Sharif is supervising one of the biggest military operations against militants in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan without any discrimination and with a commitment to continuing the fight till the elimination of terrorists from the country.
The Islamic World Istanbul Awards were given this year for the first time to promote and honour the successful people and institutions that are showing excellence and professionalism in their fields.
President Mamnoon Hussain was the chief guest at the award ceremony.
The forum also issued an Islamabad Declaration, reiterating its resolve to institutionalise itself as the voice of Muslim intellectuals, opinion leaders and thinkers.
It will hold a Muslim Women’s Summit in Kuala Lumpur in September, while the next WIF will be hosted by Iran.
A permanent steering committee, including Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Turkish Asian Centre for Strategic Studies Chairman Suleyman Sensoy, was set up to prepare an action plan for the WIF.
Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said in his keynote address that out of many challenges that the Muslim countries faced, the issue of intellectual development was of critical importance.
He said the Muslim world faced common challenges and must work in collaboration to overcome them.
“It is time the Muslims built resilient scientific, intellectual and academic partnerships with the rest of the world,” he said.
Senator Sayed said the issues being discussed might be specific to the Muslim world, but to deal with them it was necessary to also build coalitions and partnerships and collaborate with other nations, religious communities and regions.
“The Muslim world must accept its own failures and stop believing in conspiracy theories or blaming others for its own mistakes,” he said.
He announced that the Think Tanks Forum for Islamic countries would now be renamed as the World Islamic Forum, with its international secretariat in Istanbul and Asian secretariat in Islamabad.
The participants discussed ‘non-traditional security threats in Muslim countries’ and put forth suggestions to deal with the challenges.
They stressed that multilateral cooperation among all Muslim countries was of utmost importance and issues such as terrorism, climate change and human trafficking must be seriously dealt with.
The speakers also discussed the opportunities and risks in the defence and space industries and cooperation regarding nuclear proliferation.
Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari said at the closing ceremony that in the wake of newly emerging threats, there was a dire need for Muslim countries to sit together and deliberate on the multifaceted challenges.
Published in Dawn March 9th , 2015