Pakistan wants new definition of terrorism, sanctions against anti-Muslim terror outfits

Participants at an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Istanbul on Friday, convened in response to the recent attacks on two mosques in New Zealand in which 50 Muslims were killed. (Picture Courtesy: OIC via Twitter)
Updated 22 March 2019

Pakistan wants new definition of terrorism, sanctions against anti-Muslim terror outfits

  • Foreign Minister Qureshi attends OIC emergency meeting in Istanbul to discuss last week’s attacks on two New Zealand mosques 
  • Pakistan calls for special session of United Nations General Assembly on emerging threats to Muslims

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that the scope and definition of terrorism should be broadened to include attacks on Muslims and sanctions should also be imposed on Islamophobic groups and individuals.

Qureshi was speaking at an emergency meeting of the OIC held in Istanbul to discuss last week’s attacks on two New Zealand mosques and "increasing violence based on Islamophobia.”

At least 50 people, including nine Pakistanis, were killed in twin attacks by an ultra-right white extremist who live-streamed the assaults and posted an elaborate racist manifesto online. 

Speaking to media after the meeting, Qureshi said a joint communique had been issued with six proposals, four of them put forth by Pakistan.

"The first proposal was that the scope and definition of terrorism be broadened,” Qureshi said. “And the imposition of sanctions should not be limited to entities such as Al Qaeda, Daesh, etc … but those elements which reek of Islamophobia should also be included in the list of those sanctioned.”

He said the second proposal was that a special session of the United Nations General Assembly be held on the topic of Islamophobia, and the third that the OIC secretary general should work on the removal of Islamophobic content from social media. 

"The fourth thing that was proposed was that a special rapporteur be appointed who monitors Islamophobia and presents recommendations on how to counter it,” the Pakistani foreign minister said. 

Apart from foreign ministers from 20 Muslim countries, representatives of various international organisations, such as the United Nations and European Union, also attended as observers.

Addressing the OIC meeting earlier, Qureshi said the Christchurch attacks in New Zealand were not an "isolated act of a lone maniac” but “a grim reminder of the tide of Islamophobia sweeping the world.”

"Today, symptoms of this disease are writ large on the face of many societies,” he said. “It is writ large in the manifestos of far-right parties that call for expulsion of Muslims ... in the vandalizing of Islamic symbols and sites … in the growing racial profiling and stigmatization of Muslims, particularly where Muslims are in minority.”

Pakistani PM names army chief to new national development council

Updated 18 June 2019

Pakistani PM names army chief to new national development council

  • New body will formulate policies, approve long-term planning, provide guidelines for regional cooperation
  • The formal inclusion of the army chief in a development policy-making body is an unprecedented move

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the establishment of a new high-powered government body, the National Development Council (NDC), of which the country’s all-powerful army chief will be a member, a federal government notification issued on Tuesday said.
The memo said Khan would chair the eleven-member council comprising federal ministers, provincial chief ministers and federal secretaries. Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s formal inclusion in the body is unprecedented even by Pakistani standards, a country in which the military has ruled for almost half its history.
The council includes the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Minister for Finance/Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Federal Minister for Commerce/Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries & Production and Investment, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Secretary Foreign Affairs Division, Secretary, Finance Division, Secretary, Planning, Development & Reforms Division and the four provincial chief ministers.
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister, and the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan will be also be members of the body on invitation. The additional secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office will be the secretary of the council.
Defining the terms of reference (ToRs) of the council, the notification said it would set “policies and strategies for development, formulate and trailer policies to achieve accelerate economic growth, approve long term planning for national and regional connectivity and provide guidelines for regional cooperation.”