Corresponding with the attitude of listlessness that the Muslim world generally adopts in the face of far-reaching global developments even if they were to have a strong bearing on it, none of the groupings of Muslim countries have an enviable record of achieving the goals for which they had been set up. Mutual cooperation across the full spectrum of life, working in unison to resolve political issues affecting the Muslim world, remove the causes of their backwardness by actively promoting one another's development in the political, economic, commercial, scientific and military fields and, in course of time and through these joint efforts, succeed in forging Islamic unity - these high-sounding ideals, which the various organisations of Muslim nations have set before themselves to achieve and are endlessly verbalised at their annual or biennial concourses, have hardly moved beyond the rhetoric stage. At best, there is some initial perfunctory activity after every time they convene, but the leaders who hold out firm assurances of personal as well as political will to advance these causes when sitting together are suddenly overtaken by an inexplicable malady of inertia when out of the conference hall. Their political commitment evaporates and personal commitment to the uplift of the ummah wanes. Lofty gestures of generous financial allocation needed to run institutions serving the common good come to naught. The record of declarations and the achievements flowing from them, whether of the Organisation of Muslim Conference with a membership of 54 states, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Rabita-e-Alam-e-Islami (the World Muslim Congress) or the Developing-Eight, are polls apart from each other. D-8, an organisation of eight developing Muslim countries - Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey - is no exception. Meeting after meeting, old pledges are recounted in a manner to make them look afresh. The achievements are too small and, therefore, not much is said about the "progress" that is routinely reviewed. The leaders' addresses are spiced with clichs reflecting their concerns about the international issues, which have emerged since they last met. It should not be surprising, therefore, that the growth in the centrepiece of D-8's agenda, trade and economic cooperation between member states, that has taken place but is not as significant as it is made out to be in the Kuala Lumpur Declaration issued at the end of its summit early this month, has resulted from the dynamics of increasing globalisation and owe very little to the D-8's charter. After all, if the intra-D-8 trade had risen from $14.5 billion in 1999 to $60.5 billion in 2007, a long period of eight years, it is not much to boast about. It comes to around five percent of the member countries global trade. The 10-year roadmap the participants agreed upon envisages the trade to go up by the end of the period to $517.5 billion i.e. 15 percent of their expected global trade at that time. The goal is indeed laudable but would need honest commitment to reach. The huge (50-member) delegation the Pakistan Prime Minister took with him to Kuala Lumpur reflects very poorly on the leadership's concern for the suffering masses, especially when the rising inflation is squeezing so hard that the figure below the poverty line is fast growing. Such an attitude does not befit democracies. Other items on the roadmap, the problems of migrant workers, the exchange and development of information and communication technology and customs related matters would, if seriously implemented, promote economic and commercial cooperation among the D-8 members. The D-8 leaders enunciated measures to meet the twin challenge of food price hike and fuel inflation. There were some valuable proposals on which they agreed. For instance, launching joint ventures for the production of fertiliser and animal feed, persuading investors to help bring under cultivation large chunks of land, which is lying unused in some of the member countries, creating a seed bank to improve quality as well as productivity, and the Bangladeshi suggestion to establish a D-8 Food Fund. Would that these ideas are seriously taken up to help relieve the crushing burden of shortages and soaring prices. Another demanding question of the day i.e. how to contain and bring down the cost of fuel, was also an important subject of discussion at Kuala Lumpur. The leaders responded by stressing the need for search for alternative sources of energy and underlined the importance of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It was a bold move, considered in the backdrop of the stridently threatening American attitude towards Iran for its programme of uranium enrichment for use in its proposed power plants. To sum up, it is clear that were these eight nations, who are rich in natural resources and have a population of nearly one billion, to put their heads together and genuinely strive for the common goal of progress and prosperity, they would be able to get out of the mire of poverty. The policy of inaction and indecisiveness has led them nowhere and would not help them in the future. E-mail: