UNITED NATIONS  -  OIC foreign ministers adopted a strongly worded statement -- sponsored by Pakistan and Turkey -- denouncing the increasing attacks on Islam, its revered personalities and symbols, and calling for an end to such campaigns.

The ministers met on Friday on the margins of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly being held in New York.

Speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed deep concern over the misrepresentation of Islam as well as at the activities that have hurt the feelings of Muslims all over the world, especially the disrespect shown to the most revered personality of Islam. In the statement, which was approved by the ministerial meeting, serious concern was expressed on intensification of hate campaigns which were deliberately targeting Muslims and the Islamic religious symbols.

The joint statement rejected provocative acts like the holding of the competition contest to ridicule Islam aimed at inciting violence.

Ever since caricatures competition was announced, Pakistan raised the issue at the diplomatic level with the United Nations, OIC, and European Union and sensitized world leaders, according to an official statement.

Foreign Minister Qureshi wrote to the OIC secretary-general, the UN secretary-general, the Dutch foreign minister and foreign ministers of Islamic countries to jointly act against Islamophobic acts.

Pakistan also requested the convening of an Emergency Session of the OIC executive committee to take stock of the situation arising from the acts denigrating Islam.  Prime Minster Imran Khan on assuming office expressed serious concern at his very first cabinet meeting.

The cabinet adopted a resolution condemning the campaign of ridiculing Islam. Both houses of the parliament also adopted resolutions, calling for halting such activities. Prime Minister Khan had assured the Parliament that matter will be raised during the OIC ministerial meeting in New York.

In his bilateral meetings in New York, Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed serious concern at the alarming rise in defamatory activities which were hurting the sensibilities of the Muslims.

He affirmed that freedom of expression comes with concomitant responsibilities, and should be exercised keeping in view the ethical, moral and legal obligations.

The statement took notes of the important resolutions adopted by the OIC, the UN Human Rights Council and the UNGA condemning attacks on Islam, combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization and discrimination, incitement to violence against persons based on religion and belief.

In particular, the statement pointed to various steps proposed by the OIC to foster an environment of peace, religious tolerance and respect as well as measures to be taken by the states in their domestic sphere.

The statement is said to be in line with the government's commitment to play its role in garnering support through OIC's joint action and building solidarity and unity among Muslim countries and to stand united for common cause of upholding the values of Islam and engaging with other countries to promote culture of peace and tolerance.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for building bridges of understanding between cultures and societies, as he voiced Pakistan's grave concern over the continued misrepresentation of Islam in Western countries.

Addressing the Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he said Pakistan had played a leading role in opposing the growing tide of xenophobia and Islamophobia across many parts of the world, stressing the need for dialogue and interaction.

The foreign minister also voiced his serious concern over the gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Palestine and Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

"The situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir remains a smoldering tragedy," he said.

"The Kashmiri freedom struggle already counts over 90,000 martyrs, including women and children to its cause."

"The report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights," Qureshi added, documented a systematic violation of fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people, including impunity for violators and lack of access to justice as the key human rights challenges in the occupied territory.

Welcoming the decision of the OIC Contact Group to endorse the call for establishing a Commission of Inquiry contained in that report, he thanked the leaders of Islamic Ummah for their steadfast and abiding support to the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiri people.

Friday's meeting adopted the report of the Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, which renewed OIC's support to the UN-recognised right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

He concluded by expressing Pakistan's commitment to earnestly work with members of the OIC for the realisation of a shared vision of prosperous, and peaceful future.