A Special Session of the D-8 Commission, co-chaired by Turkey (as current chair) and Bangladesh (as incoming chair), was held virtually.

The session was attended by D-8 Commissioners/Representatives and the D-8 Secretary General. Director General EC&OIC Tariq Karim participated in the meeting as Pakistan’s Commissioner for the D-8, the Foreign Office said on Sunday.

In his remarks, the D-8 Secretary General Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari updated Member States on the activities and initiatives of thE Secretariat.

He informed about the steps taken by the Secretariat and D-8 Health and Social Protection programme office (D-8 HSP) in order to provide support and strengthen cooperation among Member States in response to the ovid-19 crisis.  The Secretary General also updated on the status of various D-8 projects/ initiatives.

The meeting discussed various issues related to preparations for the 10th D-8 Summit to be held in Dhaka. The D-8 Commissioner for Bangladesh briefed on the programme and events being planned for the next Summit.

In his interventions, Pakistan’s Commissioner for the D-8 Mr. Tariq Karim appreciated efforts to organize the Special Session of the D-8. Highlighting unprecedented global health and economic challenges posed by Covid-19, he stated that “smart lockdown” policy and other measures taken by the government have led to a significant improvement in the pandemic situation in Pakistan with notable reduction in new cases and fatality rate.

He highlighted the Prime Minister’s major initiatives to combat the pandemic including $8 billion relief package for vulnerable groups; Ehsas Emergency Cash Program; and “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for developing countries. He expressed Pakistan’s readiness to enhance international cooperation to combat the pandemic.

While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tariq Karim also apprised the participants of the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) in the wake of year-long inhuman military siege, communication blackout, and egregious violations of human rights.

He stated that despite widespread international condemnation, the Indian occupation forces continued to brutalize and disenfranchise the Kashmiris.

He stressed the importance of the world community and brotherly nations taking steps to alleviate sufferings of the Kashmiri people and to promote the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.

Pakistan is a founding member and key contributor to the D-8 activities. Other members include Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey.