UNITED NATIONS: - Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for progress on the Kashmir issue in a speech to OIC's ambassadorial meeting on Thursday in which he stressed the need for Islamic countries to jointly address the underlying political and security challenges facing them. "We should try to play a more active role at the United Nations and other organizations to resolve the issues of Palestine, Islamophobia, international terrorism, and development," he said in a wide-ranging speech that dealt with a number of subjects, including Pakistan's ties with Afghanistan, the challenges to Islam and Muslim world, terrorism and UN Security Council reform. Referring to the challenges facing the Islamic world, Qureshi said, "Muslim lands remain under occupation. Our noble faith is repeatedly attacked and insulted in a systematic campaign of Islamophobia. Our youth are being misguided to a path of extremism and violence. Our societies are battling against internal and external threats. Many of our countries remain underdeveloped, economically, socially and technologically. The new onslaughts of food crisis and high energy prices are aggravating the multiple challenges facing our countries." "Pakistan has always been at the forefront in advancing the causes of the OIC, particularly the legitimate cause of Palestine," Qureshi said. "We desire a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East and an end to the occupation of all Arab territories." KASHMIR On Kashmir, the foreign minister said, "Tangible progress on this issue will contribute to Pakistan's endeavour to build cooperative relations with India and to enable South Asia to emerge as a zone of prosperity and peace. "I wish to also thank the members of the OIC for their continued support to the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and for their internationally recognized right to self-determination." Stating that peace and stability between Pakistan and Afghanistan are indivisible, the foreign minister said, "It is in the vital interest of our two countries which are bound by geography, history, faith and culture, to cooperate closely to defeat the menace of terrorism. Peace in our countries will enable Pakistan and Afghanistan to serve as the hub for trade and economic cooperation in the regions of South Asia and Central Asia, China and the Gulf... "In our efforts to restore peace through dialogue and development, any act of terrorism or cross-border attack in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil will not be tolerated. If any such violation occurs, our government will take forceful action to eliminate that. On the other hand, Pakistan will not allow any foreign troops on its territory." Qureshi also called on Islamic countries to play a significant role in the Security Council and in its reform and expansion. Noting that the OIC constitutes more than one-fourth of the UN membership, he said it should have proportional representation on an expanded Security Council, specially since the Council's agenda contains many items of direct concern to the Islamic countries. "In our joint statements, the Islamic Foreign Ministers have categorically stressed that any reform of the Security Council in any category of membership must ensure adequate representation of the OIC member States. This should remain the minimum goal for our Group in the future discussions of this issue at the United Nations." Referring to the misrepresentation of Islam and repeated insults to the faith, the foreign minister said, "We cannot accept malicious attempts to defame our religion under the cover of the freedom of speech. He pointed out that the OIC Ministers in New York had called for the finalization of a legally binding instrument on discrimination and instigation of hatred against any religion. On terrorism and violent extremism, Qureshi said, "Both pose a serious threat to our societies and countries and to our regions and the world. Pakistan has been one of the principal victims of terrorism and violent extremism," while pointing to Pakistan's contribution to the fight against Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorism and extremism. "Terrorism can never be justified and must be condemned in all its forms and manifestations. In our collective efforts to eliminate this menace, however, we need to address some deeper questions including the root causes of terrorism. We must evolve a holistic and multi-dimensional strategy to tackle the challenge of terrorism and extremism. Pakistan, he said, was pursuing such a comprehensive strategy in the frontier regions.