Pakistani foreign minister to attend OIC ‘Islamophobia’ meet in Turkey

Photo caption: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addresses a media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday along with Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Haroon Sharif, Chairman Board of Investment. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
Updated 21 March 2019

Pakistani foreign minister to attend OIC ‘Islamophobia’ meet in Turkey

  • Turkey called the Friday meeting to discuss New Zealand mosque attacks and “increasing violence based on Islamophobia”
  • Apart from OIC members, representatives of the United Nations, European Union also invited to attend

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister said on Thursday he would leave for Turkey that evening to attend an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss ways to tackle Islamophobia in the aftermath of attacks on two mosques in New Zealand last week.

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

Turkey announced the emergency meeting of the OIC to discuss the New Zealand mosque attacks and "increasing violence based on Islamophobia". The country's foreign ministry said in a statement published on Thursday that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu would chair the meeting to be held in Istanbul on Friday.

“Turkey, as the OIC Summit Chair, has called upon holding an emergency meeting for discussing the increasing violence based on Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia, in particular the terrorist attack that targeted two mosques in New Zealand on 15 March 2019,” the statement said.

It also said that apart from the OIC members, the representatives of the United Nations, the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe were also invited to the meeting.


Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.