ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Tuesday the fundamental objective of a forthcoming meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Afghanistan was not the recognition of the Taliban administration in Kabul but to ensure a timely humanitarian response to help the people in the neighboring country.
The extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of OIC member states was called by Saudi Arabia to discuss Afghanistan’s growing humanitarian needs. Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced last week the meeting would be held on December 19 in Islamabad.
Afghanistan plunged into a major economic crisis after the pullout of international forces in August which brought the foreign assistance amounting to billions of dollars to an abrupt end.
“The OIC meeting will not focus on the recognition of the Taliban government,” foreign office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said while addressing his weekly media briefing in the federal capital. “Its main focus will be on humanitarian response [to the situation in Afghanistan] and practical arrangements to provide such assistance.”
“While this engagement can provide a window to the member states to discuss the recognition issue, it is not the main focus [of the gathering],” he continued.
The spokesperson said Pakistan was counting on the support of OIC states along with other responsible members of the international community to make the extraordinary session a success.
“We have invited the United Nations, representatives of financial institutions, P-5 countries along with OIC member states,” he said. “As the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah, the OIC can and must play its part in addressing the humanitarian needs of Afghan people. It is important to help prevent the economic meltdown of their country.”
Iftikhar maintained no other organization, including the UN, had devised a strategy to assist Afghanistan, adding that the OIC could do that and benefit the whole world.
“There was a conference on humanitarian assistance [to Afghanistan] in September where many countries made pledges,” he added, “but they faced practical problems … The OIC is trying to bridge that gap by providing a practical mechanism to convert pledges into reality.”
Asked about confirmations received by entities invited to the conference, he said the process was underway and Islamabad was currently receiving confirmations.
“We hope maximum number of [OIC] member states and others attend the session,” the Pakistani official said.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels and apprised him that Pakistan would be holding an “extraordinary meeting” of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to draw the attention of the international community to the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,
“The rapidly emerging humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is worrisome,” a statement from Qureshi’s office said. “There is a need for the international community to make serious efforts to provide humanitarian and economic assistance to the Afghan people.”
Qureshi called for the international community to cooperate with the Taliban to prevent “the threat of migration of refugees from Afghanistan and prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a safe haven for terrorists and a drug hub.”