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PM SLAMS ISRAELI ATTACK, URGES OIC TO COMBAT ISLAMOPHOBIA

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Urging the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take action over the rising incidents of Islamophobia in different parts of the world, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday strongly condemned the Israeli attack on Palestinians outside the Al Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramazan and reiterated his call on the international community and the Muslim world to take steps to protect the Palestinians and their legitimate rights.

The prime minister, who is currently on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, expressed the hope that Pakistani diaspora would soon see a changed and progressed Pakistan where rule of law would prevail.

On the third day of the visit, the prime minister and his wife performed Umrah and doors of Khana Kaaba were opened specially for him and members of his delegation.

Earlier, the prime minister tweeted: “Strongly condemn Israeli forces’ attack especially during Ramazan on Palestinians in Qibla-e-Awaal, Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating all norms of humanity & international law. We reiterate support for Palestinian people. International community must take immediate action to protect Palestinians & their legitimate rights.”

Prime Minister Khan also met OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef A. Al-Othaimeen in Makkah and called upon the organisation to play its rightful role in addressing the serious situation in Palestine.

Highlighting the increase in the incidents of Islamophobia in different parts of the world, he stressed the importance of a concerted response from the OIC. It was informed that following the prime minister’s letter addressed to the heads of state of Muslim countries, the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niamey had adopted a unanimous resolution on observing March 15 as International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

Prime Minister Khan emphasised that it had to be a collective endeavour of the Muslim leadership to make sure that the world recognised the special love and reverence that Muslims had for the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). “Secondly, it was imperative not to allow anyone to create any linkage between Islam and terrorism,” he said, adding that the international community should show a common resolve against intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief and work together for interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.

The secretary general informed the prime minister about OIC’s activities in support of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “The OIC has steadfastly supported the Kashmir cause and in this context the Niamey CFM culminated with a comprehensive resolution on the issue,” he added.

Later, Prime Minister Khan met Secretary General of the World Muslim League (WML) Mohammad Al Issa and reaffirmed Pakistan’s support and solidarity for the people of Palestine and underscored the imperative of protecting their legitimate rights.

Mr Khan stressed the importance of bridging the gap in understanding and communication with reference to Islamophobia. He urged the WML secretary general to work towards engaging with all segments of the Western society, in particular the academia, civil society organisations, intelligentsia and politicians.

The MWL secretary general lauded the prime minister’s espousal of Ummah’s causes and said he enjoyed an eminent stature in the Muslim world.

Imam-i-Kaaba Al-Shaikh Abdur Rahman Al Sudais, with a group of other Imams of Masjid Al Haram, called on Prime Minister Khan in Makkah. The prime minister hoped for early return of normalcy, enabling all Muslims to benefit from the blessings of Masjid Al-Haram. He requested the Imam for special prayers for Pakistan’s progress and development and the well-being of its people.

Al-Shaikh Abdur Rahman praised PM Khan’s initiatives on combating Islamophobia and promoting interfaith harmony.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday strongly condemned the Israeli attack on worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque and reiterated that Pakistan stood steadfast in support of the Palestine cause. “Condemn in strongest terms attack on innocent worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, first Qibla of Islam, by Israeli occupation forces in the holy month of Ramazan,” he said in a tweet, adding that such brutality was against very spirit of humanity and human rights law.

The foreign minister welcomed the summoning of urgent meeting of Arab League and called it a timely step. Arab League, OIC and other countries championing the human rights must take notice of the situation.

Corrupt mafia and status quo

Addressing a gathering of Pakistani community at a ceremony held in connection with Roshan Digital Account, Prime Minister Khan said the country was passing through a decisive moment and the struggle against corrupt mafia and status quo would succeed soon, leading to Naya Pakistan. “It is a decisive moment, the old status quo and a mafia are resisting and trying to save themselves. But public supports my party and the government in the struggle for rule of law,” he claimed.

He said the system based on humanity survived and ensured prosperity, whereas the rule of jungle led to nowhere. He said the corrupt elements had been united in (Pakistan) to save their skins.

“I assure you that no one can stop this change, due to mass awareness. Social media has brought about a change as information travelled very fast. The youth and social media have been the main ingredients of our party’s success,” he added.

Appreciating the role of about nine million overseas Pakistanis in the prosperity of the country, the prime minister said they possessed huge potential and had been the biggest asset. He said their potential was not fully tapped and no efforts were made in the past to pursue them to invest in the country.

Mr Khan asked the Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia and State bank of Pakistan governor to keep a close liaison with Pakistani diaspora in Saudi Arabia so that their problems could be addressed and they could send more and more remittances through Roshan Digital accounts.

The prime minister said the country’s economy was being stabilised as it had passed through the most difficult times with consistent strengthening of its reserves. He thanked the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for supporting Pakistan by giving loans and providing oil on deferred payment. “If these countries had not supported us, Pakistan would have defaulted, entailing severe consequences,” he added.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, the prime minister said, the fragile economies were devastated worldwide, adding that in neighbouring India daily caseloads were increasing at an alarming level. Pakistan was among a few countries which had navigated in the Covid-19 scenario with much difficulty, he said, adding that Pakistan’s exports were on the rise and the economy had recovered.

The prime minister said the economic indicators of the country were showing improvement. “Construction industry is providing jobs and the low-cost housing imitative would provide housing facilities to low-income groups,” he added.