OIC calls meeting to discuss Islamophobia after NZ shootings


–FM says govt will sit with parliamentary leaders on 28th to discuss post-Pulwama scenario

ISLAMABAD: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called emergency meeting of its Council of Foreign Ministers on March 22 to discuss the causes, impacts and future strategy in the wake of New Zealand shooting that had left over 50 people dead.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood said that he has been in contact with his Turkish counterpart since yesterday and that both countries agreed to summon the meeting.

Turkey currently holds the rotating OIC presidency.

He said the meeting was called in order to devise a strategy against Islamophobia after mass shootings in addition to a discussion on the underlying causes of such an incident.

He said he contacted his Turkish counterpart and discussed the world scenario after the New Zealand terrorist attacks.

Turkey being chair of the council floated the idea of convening Foreign Ministers’ meeting and Pakistan seconded it, he added.

During the meeting, efforts will be made to unify the Ummah and devise a strategy to know the root causes of growing Islamophobia in the West and its implications for Muslims around the world.

FM Qureshi says visa to the mother of Shaheed Naeem Rashid has been issued so that she can attend last rituals of her son in New Zealand.

In a statement, he said the government is facilitating relatives of Pakistani citizens, martyred in the New Zealand terrorist attack, in getting visa to travel to Christchurch to attend funerals of their loved ones.

The foreign minister said Pakistan High Commission in New Zealand is making all out efforts for affected Pakistanis in that country. He said families of six martyred want to bury them in New Zealand while three have expressed wish to bury their dead in Pakistan.

The foreign minister paid tribute to Naeem Rashid, one of the victims, for his bravery and courage. Rashid has been hailed as a hero on social media after being seen in a video of the attacks apparently trying to tackle the gunman before being shot.

The national flag be flown at half-mast on Monday, he added.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said parliamentary leaders will be invited for a meeting on 28th of this month at the parliament house in Islamabad to seek their opinions and guidance on the way to move forward, in the backdrop of post Pulwama developments.

He said he held telephonic contacts with PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif who have assured their cooperation on all issues of national interest and security.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also called for holding an emergency meeting of the OIC during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, reported Anadolu Agency.

In a statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Zarif called for “appropriate reaction of Muslim states to this heinous crime”.