ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to launch an international campaign for outlawing willful provocation against Muslims and incitement to hate.
Speaking at the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niamey, Niger, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi proposed designating March 15 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’.
He appealed to the OIC countries to use their political influence and economic clout to prevent India from committing atrocities in occupied Kashmir.
He said Islamophobia and hatred towards Muslims was on steep rise in the West and elsewhere. “Recent despicable incidents like desecration of the Holy Quran and reprinting of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) have seriously hurt the sentiments of over 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.”
Qureshi raises issue of Indian atrocities in held Kashmir
Mr Qureshi said these shameful acts could not and should not be justified in the name of freedom of expression.
He said the rise and political mainstreaming of far-right extremism in many countries were creating a hostile environment for Muslims and it was critical to raise awareness about this new scourge.
He said Pakistan had been able to contain the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite having the world’s fifth largest population. “We are humbled that our response is cited among global success stories. Yet no one is out of the woods and a second wave is hitting us all,” he said.
He said Pakistan was ready to share its experiences with Muslim countries. Pakistan was also at the forefront of highlighting and working on the challenges posed to the developing countries due to shrinking fiscal space because of the pandemic.
The foreign minister said the rising wave of Hindutva in India had emerged as a serious threat not only to Indian Muslims but also to regional security.
He said the Modi government was systematically attacking India’s over 180 million Muslims.
“We must take cognisance of these crimes lest we see another bloodbath of Indian Muslims,” the foreign minister said.
He said the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) remained dire. Operating under draconian laws with impunity, Indian occupation forces were committing unspeakable atrocities to silence the voice of the Kashmiris and break their will.
Mr Qureshi said while Pakistan had been at the forefront of fighting terrorism, India had been weaving a web of terrorism in Pakistan.
“We have prepared a dossier on India’s state sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan and provided incontrovertible proof to the international community. We hope that the OIC collectively, and Muslim countries individually, will play a role in stopping India from following this dangerous course.”
He praised the OIC for being at the forefront of efforts to support the legitimate and just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination. “The beleaguered people of IIOJK, now more than ever, look towards the OIC and the Ummah to help alleviate their sufferings.”
“It is imperative for the CFM to demand that India rescind its illegal and unilateral actions...,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2020