Press Release – Webinar on “OIC at 50: Strengthening Partnership and Future Prospects”

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Press Release
OIC at 50: Strengthening Partnership and Future Prospects
September 24, 2020

The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a commemorative webinar titled “OIC at 50: Strengthening Partnership and Future Prospects” on September 24, 2020 celebrating 50 years of the establishment of OIC. Honorable Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Honorable Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, Secretary General OIC, addressed the webinar through messages recorded especially for the occasion. The speakers at the webinar included:  Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the OIC, Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Mr. Khalid Rehman, Director General, Institute of Policy Studies and Mr. Ahmed Qureshi, Executive Director, Youth Forum for Kashmir.

The webinar was moderated by Mr. Najam Rafique, Director Research at the ISSI, who stated that the OIC’s existence is based on the idea that there is an ideological commonality among its members that is stronger than any differences. The organization has emerged as an important voice defending the dignity and rights of its members.

In his introductory remarks, the Director General ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the OIC is a unique platform for voices within the Muslim world. The OIC has been active on many issues that involve Muslims around the world including issues such as rights of Muslims, terrorism, and Islamophobia. He further stated that for Pakistan, OIC has been of a phenomenal support throughout its fight for the Kashmir cause. Pakistan has always considered OIC as an important forum for political support on Kashmir.

Honorable Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his message stated that OIC is the embodiment of the age old ideas of Islamic solidarity inherent in the notion of the Ummah. It is a concrete manifestation of hopes and aspirations of Muslim states to speak and act in unison and have a collective voice on world stage and to have enhanced salience on global affairs. As a key Muslim state and founding member, Pakistan has played a significant role in the development and evolution of OIC.

His Excellency Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, in his message stated that the OIC is committed to serve the priority issues at the heart of member states and its political agenda includes the issue of Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir dispute, Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, and the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in Myanmar along with a number of issues of paramount importance. He said that the OIC has always stressed on the importance of working out peaceful solutions through dialogue and understanding, national reconciliation processes, and remains ready to support any effort to that end. OIC institutions have also launched a set of initiatives within the framework of joint responses and humanitarian measures supporting member states during the ongoing crisis.

In his keynote address Ambassador Rizwan Saeed stated that the OIC tries to provide a single voice to all the Muslims around the globe. He reiterated that for Pakistan, the OIC has played a significant role in raising the issue of Kashmir. He emphasized that Pakistan needs to look at the OIC beyond the narrow lens of the issue of Kashmir and Pakistan India conflict, and utilize it as an economic organization like Turkey, by exploring prospective markets in other member countries.

In his remarks Mr. Khalid Rehman said that fifty years is a sufficient time for an organization to consolidate its position and the OIC has come a long way in becoming a consolidated platform. He said that while OIC has spearheaded institutions which are performing successfully, the less than satisfactory performance of the organization is due to its internal polarization.

While expressing his views, Mr. Ahmed Quraishi said that the OIC is definitely an impressive multilateral forum and its importance has not diminished. He said that the challenges have intensified and issues like Islamophobia and blasphemy are creating problems and need to be talked about at the OIC. He appreciated the OIC for keeping the Kashmir issue alive at its platform.

In his concluding remarks, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors, ISSI, stated that the OIC, despite its constraints, has done a commendable job in raising its voice for the Muslim causes. He said that it is time for introspection and the challenge of implementing the OIC resolutions. He stressed on the need and priority for the member states to act collectively.  He reiterated that Pakistan is fully committed to the OIC.