ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi on Tuesday urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to play a proactive role in confronting the challenge posed by Islamophobia.

In a meeting here with OIC Secretary-General Dr Yousef Ahmad Al-Othaimeen, the special assistant stressed the need for a collective stance against incidents of propagation of falsehood and use of violence and preaching of hatred against adherents of Islam.

Al-Othaimeen arrived in Pakistan on a three-day official visit on April 9th.

During his first official visit to Pakistan, the secretary general’s engagements included calls on the leadership and meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The secretary-general also visited the headquarters of the OIC Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation in Islamabad.

Fatemi briefed the OIC secretary-general over the Kashmir dispute, terming the unabated killings of innocent Kashmiri people by the Indian forces in the occupied territory, as the worst form of state terrorism.

He also highlighted the brutal use of state apparatus against minorities in India, particularly the discriminatory policies and acts of violence against Muslims in India.

Fatemi strongly condemned the printing, publication and propagation of blasphemous material, insulting Islam and venerated personalities, particularly on the social media.

He requested the OIC secretary-general to use his good office to urge all Muslim-majority countries to join hands to impress upon the providers of the social media services and host countries the urgency of stopping publication of blasphemous material on their sites, in line with their international obligations.

He rejected attempts by individuals and states to use the pretext of “freedom of expression”, to engage in these malicious actions.

The OIC secretary-general emphasised that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was high on the organisation’s agenda.

He regretted that the Indian government had not responded to the OIC request to facilitate the visit of the OIC Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir to the held territory.

The OIC secretary-general agreed with the need to counter Islamophobia, expressing solidarity with Muslim minorities and working together against publication and propagation of blasphemous material, especially on the social media.

Later on Tuesday, Szilveszter Bus, the Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary called on Tariq Fatemi.

Fatemi expressed satisfaction on the overall state of bilateral relations between the two countries, said a statement released by the foreign ministry.

He, however, underscored the need for concerted efforts by both sides to enhance these ties, especially in the fields of trade and economy.

Fatemi briefed the Hungarian deputy state secretary on Pakistan’s gains in the security and counter-terrorism area, as well as in economic growth and strengthening of democratic institutions.

Bus reaffirmed the importance Hungary attached to its relations with Pakistan and agreed that trade volume between the two countries had great potential for expansion.

In this context, he referred to significant investment made by the Hungarian firm “MOL” in Pakistan’s oil and gas sector.

Hungary has also increased the number of scholarships for Pakistani students from 80 to 200.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua also participated in the meeting.

Earlier, Pakistan and Hungary held the fourth round of Bilateral Political Consultations during which the entire spectrum of bilateral relations were discussed.

Ambassador Zaheer A Janjua, additional secretary (Europe), led the Pakistan side, while the Hungarian delegation was headed by Szilveszter Bus, deputy state secretary for the Southern Opening of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

The two sides, while undertaking a comprehensive review of bilateral ties, agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation, especially in the economic and trade fields.

The two sides also had a detailed exchange of views on regional and international issues of importance and agreed to continue collaborating at the United Nations and other multilateral fora.

The “Agreement on Economic Cooperation” between Pakistan and Hungary was also signed at the Economic Affairs Division.

The agreement will help in formalising and further strengthening of economic and trade relations between the two countries.