ISLAMABAD: Saudi delegates reached Islamabad on Friday to attend an extraordinary session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers, scheduled to take place on December 19, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The moot was proposed by Saudi Arabia last month, following which Pakistan had welcomed the move and offered to host the session.
A delegation comprising Saudi Arabia’s Afghan affairs department head Prince Abdullah bin Khalid bin Saud al-Kabir and Prince Jiluwi bin Turki arrived in Islamabad on Friday morning. The delegates were received by Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al Malki and senior officials from the Foreign Office (FO).
Separately, the FO also welcomed Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Dr Mohammed bin Sulaiman Al Jasser.
Upon reaching Islamabad, the IDB president commended Pakistan bringing OIC countries at one platform for stability in Afghanistan.
Speaking to state-run Radio Pakistan at Islamabad International Airport, he acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for extending “every possible assistance to Afghanistan”.
All OIC countries held Pakistan’s contribution in this regard in high esteem, Al Jasser said, adding that the participation of OIC ministers in the upcoming conference was an expression of their resolve for peace in Afghanistan.
OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha had reached also Islamabad on Thursday night to attend the summit. He was welcomed by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib.
Taha had said on the occasion that the OIC session would provide an opportunity to Muslim countries to discuss ways to help Afghan people, who were facing a looming humanitarian crisis.
According to Radio Pakistan, he said it was high time that Muslim countries considered ways to help their Afghan brethren at this critical time.
He also appreciated Pakistan’s role in facilitating the evacuation of foreigners from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in Kabul and expressed the hope that Islamabad would continue to play a positive role in helping the people of Afghanistan.
The OIC secretary general met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday, with the latter tweeting: “A pleasure to welcome OIC Secretary General H.E Hissein Brahim Taha to Pakistan. I look forward to working closely for the success of the 17th Extraordinary Session of the CFM on Afghanistan.”
Earlier in the day, the foreign minister also held a meeting with media persons to discuss the OIC summit. He said in a tweet that he had held a “very constructive session with people from Pakistan’s media fraternity, discussing the upcoming 17th extraordinary session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers”.
“Together we must draw the world’s attention to act on the dire humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” Qureshi asserted.
He told media persons that the Afghan delegation attending the moot would be led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West would also attend the summit.
The foreign minister said the world must not abandon Afghanistan, warning that if a humanitarian crisis was not averted in the war-torn country, its economy would collapse.
He further stated that in case of a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the country’s neighbours, including Pakistan, and European Union states would have to prepare for another influx of refugees.
Qureshi said Pakistan was playing its role in providing assistance to Afghanistan and urged other countries to do the same.
In this regard, he highlighted that 75 per cent of Afghanistan’s budgetary requirements were met via external support and now that Afghan assets had been frozen, the world needed to revisit its approach.