The 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) started on 22 March 2022 and will last for 2 days. The theme of the meeting is “Unity, Justice, and Development”. The senior officials of the 57-member body discussed challenges faced by the Muslim world. Chinese FM Wang Yi also attended the occasion on special invitation.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan brought up several concerns related to the treatment of Muslims around the world. He talked about the Kashmir issue and called out Israel for occupying Palestinian lands but failed to highlight the persecution of people based on sects within Muslim countries and the mass imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims in China.
There was criticism against Pakistan for warmly welcoming a senior minister from a state accused of “reeducating” Uyghurs. Critics smelled hypocrisy that despite claiming to raise voice against ill-treatment of Muslims, Pakistan failed to call out China on this grave issue which is similar to Nazi actions at Auschwitz.
Chinese FM Thanks Pakistan for Security
Chinese FM and Pakistani FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi talked about many things in addition to the state of Muslims worldwide. They discussed extending China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, and China expressed the desire to import Pakistani rice and wheat. Moreover, China also lauded Pakistan for taking strict actions against Dasu terrorist attack in 2021 that killed 13 people, including 9 Chinese workers. The attack was allegedly sponsored by Indian and Afghan intelligence agencies and targeted a bus carrying workers to the Dasu dam construction site.
Pak FM also thanked China for its support in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) till its removal from the Grey List. China provided a 2 billion USD rollover to the State Bank of Pakistan. Yi claimed that China would also expand its support to Pakistan regarding poverty reduction and sustainable development of the agriculture sector through modernisation.
Concerns Over China Attending OIC Moot
Anti-China critics raised concerns about Chinese FM at OIC because of China’s alleged mistreatment of Muslims. The supporters of the East Turkestan movement called it misfortunate that China was present at an Islamic conference. China considers all support for East Turkestan (also called Uyghurstan) as terrorism and separatism. Whereas, the people of East Turkestan consider themselves independent from China.
In 2014, China also banned Muslim civil servants from fasting during Ramadan. Therefore, Pakistan being a Muslim country and enjoying friendship with China has troubled other Muslim nations.
Afghanistan did not attend the OIC summit in Islamabad. Moreover, no member of the OIC has recognized the Taliban government either.
Imran Khan Asks Muslim Countries to Mediate in Russia and Ukraine conflict
PM Khan suggested in the OIC meeting that Muslim states along with China could try and bring a ceasefire to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He said that if the current situation is not stopped then it could have greater consequences for the rest of the world. Khan’s speech came after Pakistan and China analysed how Russian sanctions can have spill-over effects. Both countries have voiced concerns over the full-scale war but neither has fully condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.