OIC summit: Imran Khan’s last stand?

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, facing a no confidence vote on Friday where a series of defections from his party indicate that he may lose, used what may be his last opportunity on the international arena to bring up Kashmir and Palestine. All Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) meetings, especially those hosted by Pakistan, end up being a forum for bashing India and Israel, as was the 17th extraordinary meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers in December, in Islamabad. Pakistan is the OIC chair for 2022-2023.

“Honorable foreign ministers we have failed both the Palestinians and the people of Kashmir I’m sad to say that we we have been able to make no impact at all they don’t take us seriously. We are a divided house and those powers know it.”, Khan said in his inaugural speech not specifically naming Israel and India.

“We are 1.5 billion people and yet our voice to stop this blatant injustice is insignificant we’re not talking about conquering some country we simply talking about the human the human rights of the people of Kashmir and Palestine.” he continued, addressing the 48th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Islamabad. The first day of the 48th OIC conference kicked off Tuesday at Parliament House, Islamabad, as the Council of the Foreign Ministers (CFMs) of the OIC started discussions to tackle problems faced by the Muslim world.

The theme of the 48th session is “Building Partnerships for Unity, Justice, and Development”. Over 100 resolutions will be considered during the two-day session, the main resolutions will probably condemn Israel and India.

PM Imran Khan started his keynote address by welcoming and congratulating all the visiting foreign ministers and other dignitaries on the designation of March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday said Beijing was attending the 48th meeting of OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers for developing a partnership with the Muslim world besides promoting unity and cooperation for the multilateralism. Yi is a “special guest” for the OIC summit, which may be Imran Khan’s last international engagement as Prime Minister.

Al-Jazeera reported that Pakistan’s parliament will convene on Friday to take up a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, the lower house speaker’s office said on Sunday, heightening fears of political turmoil in the country.

Khan also bought up Afghanistan, where Pakistan has had a key role in supporting the Taliban.

“No nation has suffered as much as Afghanistan in the 40 years of conflict. Finally, there is no conflict going on,” he said, adding that the only danger that the country faces is sanctions and non-recognition.

“A stable Afghanistan is the only way to stop international terrorism.” he concluded.

Meanwhile Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed confidence that this OIC session will be guided by eternal Islamic values of amity and brotherhood, as embodied in the Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet.

He said that promoting solidarity and cooperation within the Muslim Ummah is one of the central pillars of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

“As chair of the OIC-CFM during 2022-23, Pakistan’s overarching goal shall be to solidify this bridging role further,” the foreign minister said.

Through the observance of this day, the OIC will create a global awareness on Islamophobia and advance solutions through collective action, Qureshi said.

FM Qureshi also highlighted global issues such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, global arms race, rising commodity prices, declining world trade and growth, COVID-19, global warming, inequality and others, along with the conflicts in Middle East.

Incase Khan won’t survive the no-confidence motion on Friday, this adds significant concerns to Pakistan’s democracy and security. Pakistan, a nuclear power, is now facing tensions with the Taliban, it supported on the Afghan border. As he looses control of the parliament, Khan has increased his “anti-west”, anti-India and anti-Israel rhetoric and grown closer to Russia, China and other dictatorial powers.

About the Author
Sergio Restelli is an Italian political advisor, author and geopolitical expert. He served in the Craxi government in the 1990's as the special assistant to the deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Martelli and worked closely with anti-mafia magistrates Falcone and Borsellino. Over the past decades he has been involved in peace building and diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. He has written for Geopolitica and several Italian online and print media. In 2020 his first fiction "Napoli sta bene" was published.
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