President Asif Ali Zardari urges Muslim countries to help in Afghan reconciliation process

MAKKAH-al-MUKKARMAH: President Asif Ali Zardari has urged the Muslim Heads of States and Governments to join Pakistan in appealing all the groups in Afghanistan to join the reconciliation and peace process.
Addressing the 4th extraordinary Islamic Summit here in Makkah-Al-Mukarramah today, President Zardari said that Pakistan has been seriously affected by the unrest in Afghanistan adding that the fallout of the Mujahideen resistance to the former Soviet Union was still haunting Pakistan.
Reiterating Pakistan’s support to Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, the President said that peace and stability in Afghanistan was vital for the peace and stability of Pakistan. Indeed, it is vital for peace and stability of the region and the world, the President remarked.
The President said that he remembered Afghanistan as a tourist attraction and now the world has seen what war has brought to that beautiful country.
He said that through past experience Pakistan knows what war means.
The President said, “We have been the allies of the world in the war against rival ideology and we have witnessed the introduction of heroine as a war weapon.”
He said that there were more than three million Afghan refugees in Pakistan and expressed the hope that these refugees will soon return to their homeland to rebuild their country.
The President said that his brother President Karzai and he himself were determined that these efforts succeed.
President Zardari said, “Afghanistan has taught us that while thinkers and philosophers talk of changing the destinies of nations, they must also have knowledge of the societies they wish to change.”
Commenting on other issues of major concern to the Muslim world, the President said that Muslim communities in different parts of the world continue to suffer denial of their human rights.
He said Kashmir issue continues to fester. Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to a just and peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions, he expressed the hope that Pakistan’s engagement with India will be result oriented and purposeful.
The President said that unresolved Palestinian question was a deep wound in the heart of Middle East.
He said that Pakistan fully supports the creation of an independent and viable Palestinian state.
Referring to some recent developments in Middle East and other parts of Muslim world, the President said that fast moving and far reaching developments have been taking place in North Africa and the Middle East.
He said, “Over the past two years we have witnessed youth aspiring for change and democratic transformation.”
The President said that Egypt and Tunisia have completed peaceful transformations in their countries and we wish them success in their difficult transformation.
Calling for putting an immediate end to the bloodshed in Syria, the President said, “Pakistan is deeply pained to see Syria bleed”.
He said, “Pakistan desires that Syria must forge its own destiny in accordance with the aspirations of its people.”
The President said, “We must respect Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.”
He said the international community must respect the principles of non interference and non intervention.
He said that the OIC should continue to have leverage with Syria. The President also appealed to all sides in Syria to declare ceasefire during Eid-ul-Fitr.
President Zardari said that large scale killing of Muslims in Myanmar was a matter of deep concern for Pakistan.
He said that he has addressed a personal letter to the President of Myanmar urging him to take necessary steps to end the bloodshed.
In regard, the President called upon OIC to use its good offices for promoting a process of protecting the life and property of the Muslims of Myanmar.
The President said, “We are passing through a period of upheaval and turmoil and the global political and economic landscape is changing and changing fast and the historical forces have brought mankind face to face with new challenges.”
The President said that these challenges also offer great opportunities.
He said, “We must seize the moment and take advantage of the available opportunities.”
The President said that turmoil was brewing in many parts of the world and there was an element of uncertainty.
He said that this is more so in the Muslim world, adding that a number of Islamic countries find themselves in a storm.
President Zardari emphasized that unity and solidarity of Muslim Ummah was critical to achieving success and the Muslim world must use their collective strength to defend just Islamic causes.
He said, “We should work collectively to promote global peace and prosperity.” This, he said, can be done by expanding cooperation among OIC countries.
Calling upon the Muslim world to take ownership of their destinies, President urged the Muslim world leaders to evolve a mechanism for developing a collective response to the challenges before the Muslim world.
In this regard, the President has proposed OIC to consider sending Special Missions comprising Heads of State and Government to areas of conflict that affect the Muslims.
He said that terrorism continues to haunt Muslim societies and has distorted the face of Islam.
The President said that in Pakistan, “we have lost over 40,000 lives including over 6500 personnel of security forces in the fight against terrorism and our material losses have reached almost 80 billion dollars”.
President Zardari said, “We need to fight collectively against suicide bombings and the mindset that promotes it”. He appealed to the Ulema from all over the world to issue a solemn declaration against suicide attacks and also against forces that back such attacks.
He said that there was a need to collectively fight against the forces that encourage the militancy.
In such an effort, he said, Pakistan would be happy to play its role.
Appreciating the holding of the Summit, the President said that the OIC summit has a special significance for the Pakistani nation adding that date on which it was taking place was the Independence Day of Pakistan.
The President said that he was grateful to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for holding this Summit in the holy month of Ramadan and in the Holy City of Makkah.
Lauding personal interest and invaluable services of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, and the Government and people of Saudi Arabia, who have always taken the lead in finding solutions to the issues of concern to the Muslim Ummah, the President said Pakistan deeply values its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as these bonds are special, unmatched and deeply rooted.
He said, “We are grateful for the support King Abdullah, the Government and the people of Saudi Arabia have always extended to us.”
The President also appreciated the initiative to establish a Centre for Dialogue amongst various doctrines of Islam saying that it will go a long way in achieving the objectives of this conference of creating harmony and solidarity in the Muslim Ummah.
While Reiterating Pakistan’s full support and complete solidarity with the Muslim nations, the President concluded his speech praying to Almighty to give Muslim Ummah wisdom and fortitude to face the challenges confronting it with courage.
He expressed the hope that the summit will reinforce Islamic solidarity to overcome the challenges faced by the Muslim world.

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