LAHORE - With Israel’s continued bombing of Gaza that has left around 500 people dead and many more injured, former foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi came down hard on the role of Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) as well as Islamabad regretting that both of them have failed to play the role expected of them.
“Given the situation, the OIC cannot do anything because it is a useless organisation. It does not enjoy any respect anywhere. The problem is that some of the Muslim countries do not want to see the OIC as a strong entity. Nothing can be done until unity is achieved but then it is pointless to even talk about Umma.” said former Riaz Khokar while talking to The Nation on Monday.
“Where will the leadership come from? In the entire Islamic World, there is not a single individual who has what it takes to be a leader. Given the statements of condemnations coming out from across the Muslim world, they should be dismissed as insignificant.” he said.
He was of the view that the air strikes carried out by Israel in the name of destroying the missile launch sites and factories in Gaza, add up to genocide. “The West is happy because those dying are Muslims and that is the reason why the massacre is going on. On their part, the Muslims, lack conviction,” he said.
The former foreign secretary was dismissive about the character of the some of the Muslim leaders and held them responsible for the plight of Palestinians in particular and Muslims in general. “As it is, some of the heads of the Islamic states in the Gulf are on a vacation, while I’m sure some of them are hanging out in casinos in this time of trial. What could be more shameful,” he said.
“When the OIC was formed, it had lots of energy and direction. We had Bhutto, Sukarno and Abdul Gamal Abdul Nasir and many others who had a vision. All of them departed one by one while no one followed in their footsteps.” he said.
Khokar was also critical of the role Pakistan has been playing. “Yes there should be a role that Pakistan should be playing but then you should expect nothing. Palestine’s tragedy is that it is also under the stranglehold of certain Arab states who do not wish to see it progressing on the road to freedom. There are Arab states that want to see the existing Palestine demolished of the face of earth.” he said. Mr Khokar finished off at a pessimistic note. “There is no hope. It is better to say the funeral prayer of OIC.”
Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also shared his views on the role of OIC and what should Pakistan be doing to reach out to the dying people o Gaza. “The OIC has not been able to play the role that was expected of it. This Barbaric attack is horrific. People all around the world, in Europe in America are up in arms and they are complaining. The concerned organisations in the world are not as assertive as they should have been. And that includes the Arab League as well.” he said.
He came down heavily on the position taken by Pakistan’s Foreign Office and the government, saying that it was apologetic. However, he said that traditionally, Pakistanis always felt strongly for the misery of Palestinians.
“Pakistan’s position has always been clear and consistent. Governments have come and gone but that did not affect the bond of affinity between the two people,” he said, emphasising that the statements made so far are cosmetic and that Islamabad should have played an assertive role.
Qureshi stressed raising the issue at the UN. “The problem is that people are being killed. The government of Pakistan should play its role at the UN,” he said. “Pakistan should be proactive at least on humanitarian grounds. This is a month of peace, where people make a fresh start in their lives.”