Relations between Pakistan and OIC countries remain strong and solid, says Pakistan’s envoy
RIYADH: Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has welcomed a UN resolution to declare March 15 a day to combat Islamophobia around the world.
Ameer Khurram Rathore said the decision by the international organization would help break down sectarian stereotypes surrounding Muslims and terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are leading members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and have together persuaded the UN to condemn Islamophobia.
“We had full support in multilateral forums, between Pakistan and OIC countries, after which we were able to achieve this, and it is a great success.
“After 9/11 (the terrorist attacks on the United States), Islam became associated with terrorism and an effort was made to create a stereotype for Muslims. This initiative to highlight Islamophobia is a long-term thing, it will break this stereotype that some people have tried to build between Muslims and terrorism,” Rathore added.
The resolution was introduced by the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Munir Akram, on behalf of the OIC. It has been three years to the day since a gunman entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 worshipers and injuring 40 others.
The mere fact that the OIC meeting is being held on March 23, which is Pakistan Day, shows us how strong the relationship between Pakistan and OIC countries is and how important it is that every Muslim country stands together in these difficult times.
Ameer Khurram RathorePakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia
The 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers is taking place in Islamabad. The two-day conference coincides with Pakistan Day celebrations on Wednesday and selected guests have been invited to watch a parade.
“The mere fact that this is being held on March 23, which is Pakistan Day, shows us how strong the relationship between Pakistan and OIC countries is and how important it is for every Muslim country to remain solidarity in these difficult times,” the envoy said. noted.
The summit is the second OIC meeting to be held in the Pakistani capital recently. Representatives from 56 OIC Member States are participating in the conference titled “Partnership for Unity, Justice and Development”.
In addition to addressing issues such as Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, conference discussions will also touch on key priorities such as tackling Islamophobia, recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, peace and security, economic development, cultural and scientific cooperation and the revitalization of the role of the OIC.
“We are very grateful to the Saudi leadership for supporting us in this endeavor and we look forward to further deepening our relationship in this area,” Rathore added.
More than 2 million Pakistanis live and work in Saudi Arabia.
The Ambassador said: “It is my greatest pleasure to live in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-Pakistani relationship is in people’s hearts. The relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is a special relationship, it is very deep, it is historical, it is rooted in our history, in our culture, in our religious beliefs.
“Whenever Pakistan needs Saudi Arabia, we always find Saudi Arabia on our side, and vice versa. It has always been like that.” It also shows how considerate the Saudi government is towards people. Pakistanis who live and work here. And they not only contribute to the development of Saudi society, but they also help Pakistan, in the form of remittances,” he added.
Rathore noted that the ties between the two nations have helped forge common visions and shared views on various issues.
He said: “Previously it was the political and cultural aspect that drove the relationship. But these days, Pakistani leaders, as well as Saudi leaders, are keen to see the strength of our relationship reflected in the economic realm as well. Thus, the two countries are trying to build and deepen our trade relations.
“Economic relations are always two-way. We are working on improving exports to Saudi Arabia. We work on investments and joint ventures between Saudi and Pakistani companies.
“There are areas that we are paying more attention to these days, and those are IT, agriculture, petrochemicals, and a host of things where we see a lot of potential, and God willing , we will see the fruits of these efforts coming soon.
In 2019, during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan, the Saudi Council of Chambers organized the Saudi-Pakistani Business Forum in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Trade and Investment and its Pakistani counterpart.
Saudi Commerce Minister Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi hailed the development of Saudi-Pakistani relations and stressed the need to further strengthen strategic business partnerships.
“We are very excited about the new projects, and we pray for the success and early completion of megaprojects like NEOM, which I believe would be a game-changer, not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the whole region. and we look forward to contributing to this development.
The two countries have frequently exchanged high-level delegations and made plans to expand bilateral cooperation. “The nature of our relationship is such that high-level bilateral visits are normal,” the envoy said.
The crown prince was greeted on the red carpet in Pakistan by Khan and members of his cabinet, the country’s army chief and other senior officials during his two-day official visit in February 2019, when seven protocols agreements and agreements worth 20 billion dollars have been signed between the two countries. And Khan visited the Kingdom in October.
“We don’t just coordinate our positions in multilateral forums. In the bilateral sphere, there is constant consultation, there are many mechanisms by which we consult each other very regularly.
The two nations often exchange gifts, usually dates, and Pakistan considers its relationship with Saudi Arabia its “most important bilateral partnership” in current foreign policy.
People in Muslim-majority Pakistan make regular religious pilgrimages to holy sites in Mecca and Medina, and more than 200,000 Pakistanis took part in the 2019 Hajj season.
Last year, about 70 delegations from OIC Member States, Non-Members and Regional and International Organizations attended the 17th Extraordinary Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, held in Islamabad, to discuss the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
At the conclusion of the summit, OIC member states agreed to establish a humanitarian trust fund to channel aid, appoint a special envoy and work with the UN in the war-torn country.