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Thursday, February 15, 2024

ISI ex-Chief Durrani calls OIC summit a circus

Former ISI chief Lt General Asad Durrani said the OIC has proved to be good for nothing once again. According to him, no immediate action plan and pledges for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan were seen. The OIC summit in Islamabad has diverted global attention to the war-torn country assets of which are frozen by the US.

Islamabad, the host of the 17th Session of the Emergency Meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, has received bouquets as well as brickbats at the end of the OIC assembly. The brouhaha over the summit is not going to last longer in Islamabad. The only significant takeaway from the massive gathering is the formation of the Humanitarian Trust Fund in support of the Islamic Development Bank and Food Security Programme to attenuate the catastrophe in Afghanistan. Neither a single point out of those 31-point OIC resolutions ensured recognition of Taliban, nor assured pledging of proper funds yet. Former ISI chief Lt General Asad Durrani in a virtual webinar jokingly termed the meeting “a circus.”

Doubtlessly, the OIC summit has added more scores to the card of the PTI government. It also reflects Pakistan’s ambition and diplomatic outreach under the aegis of Imran Khan. In fact, this is the first time since the Taliban took power that such a mega event has been initiated on Afghanistan at the international level. Apart from the 57 member states, representatives from the UN and EU as well as the US flew down to attend the summit. At the 17th emergency session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the OIC Secretary-General called on the Afghan delegation to ensure the interests of the Afghan people, protect their lives, end violence and ensure peace.

Read more: OIC summit: Strategy of Inaction?

He also assured that the peace process in Afghanistan would continue to be supported by the ICC. He informed that financial, humanitarian and other assistance would be provided through the OIC office in Kabul. He appealed to all member states to provide humanitarian assistance. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffith arrived in Islamabad and praised the OIC’s efforts to resolve the Afghan crisis.

The condition of healthcare in Afghanistan is pathetic

Hunger is on the rise and rise in Afghanistan. The strength of hungry Afghans is increasing terribly. Out of a population of 36 million, 22.8 million Afghans are suffering from food insecurity or malnutrition. Every state, in the OIC and outside the Muslim world, is disquieted by the fact but no one is yet ready to alleviate the trauma of Afghanistan.

When fifty-seven states weld, they usually generate enough power to sway others. But the OIC concluded frivolously. Former ISI chief Lt General Asad Durrani said the OIC has proved to be good for nothing once again. According to him, no immediate action plan and pledges for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan were seen. “The OIC summit in Islamabad has diverted the global attention to the war-torn country assets of which are frozen by the US. We shall not wait for the banking channels to open.

Let the non-state actors act as early as possible through a well-defined and monitored process to support humanitarian aid. We knew ten years back that it would happen after the withdrawal of the US and NATO troops from Afghanistan. But intentionally never thought of any post-withdrawal plans.”

Read more: After Pakistan’s OIC, UNSC adopts resolution to aid Afghanistan

Speaking to a webinar on OIC meet in Islamabad hosted by Development Communications Network, spymaster Durrani remarked, “Pakistan would be the biggest loser if it could not play its due role in Afghanistan at the time of crisis. This is unfortunate that the Muslim world is yet to come up with any joint action plan to combat the humanitarian crisis beyond the political differences with the Taliban.”

Pakistan playing its part in helping Afghanistan: Is it worth it?

Ambassador Naghmana Hashmi opposed the views expressed by Durrani and defended Pakistan’s role in organizing the OIC foreign ministers conference. Pakistan’s contribution in Afghanistan can neither be ignored nor be compared with anyone. About one and half million refugees from Afghanistan nested in Pakistan till 2021. Besides the refugee issue, there’s a security threat looming for Pakistan as well.

Married to the hardline sect of Islam, the Taliban toppled a democratically elected government. There’s no proper assurance from them on forming an inclusive government, empowering the female population and abiding by international human rights. Pakistan shouldn’t hurriedly advocate for the Taliban’s recognition when no other Muslim country is coming forward to do so.

At the OIC, Pakistan’s other significant objective was to table Kashmir and allegations against India. In the past, the OIC has made it clear that Pakistan cannot use the OIC in any way to further its narrow interests. If Pakistan continues to do so, it will lose weight and value. Pakistan should bilaterally engage with the countries to pump money into the fund of Afghan developments. A cluster of countries is there, who are ready to donate yet reluctant to deal with the Taliban directly.

Read more: OIC and Pakistan’s pledges for Afghanistan

At a time when the price of wheat flour in Pakistan has spiked by 19 percent, Pakistan alone can’t send required wheat flour and other essential food items to Afghanistan. Whereas, India has food grains in surpass, even after over 81.35 crore Indians are beneficiaries of its public food item distribution system. Pakistan initially disdained India’s request for a route permit for sending 50,000 tonnes of wheat and medicines to Afghanistan. Earlier this month, India sent 1.6 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines to war-torn Afghanistan.

The big player in the region China too extended $31million-aid to Afghanistan. Pakistan should pitch OIC states properly and engage all the neighbors of Afghanistan to permit their land routes for transporting humanitarian aid. Moreover, along with the OIC, Pakistan should ensure the proper allocation of funds and distribution of aids.


Ayanangsha Maitra is a freelance journalist and Ph.D. candidate in India. He regularly contributes to GVS and tweets at @Ayanangsha. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy