President Zardari to attend emergency Islamic summit muftpakistan

ISLAMABAD: Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has invited world Muslim leaders including President Asif Ali Zardari to attend a two-day extraordinary emergency Islamic summit in Makkah on the 27th of Ramazan (August 14-15).

The government of Pakistan has decided to participate in the summit and will convey its willingness to Saudi Arabia next week. The summit will deliberate upon the threats of fragmentation and sedition being faced by the Muslim world and would provide an opportunity to Muslim leaders to discuss the problems of the Ummah.

Diplomatic sources told The News on Friday that Pakistan would also avail itself of the opportunity to highlight the threats being faced by Pakistan and the Afghan issue will also figure prominently at the discussion.

Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer, who is currently in Riyadh, is holding consultations regarding the summit. He is hopeful that Pakistan would participate in the summit with a delegation and the summit will play a significant role in bringing unity among the Muslim Ummah.

The formal agenda is being chalked out at the headquarters of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah and would be made public in a couple of days. This will be the 12th summit of the OIC since its inception in 1969 while it would be the 4th extraordinary summit. The earlier three summits were held in Pakistan in March 1997, Doha (Qatar) in March 2003 and Makkah in December 2005.

The reaction of Syrian leader Bashar-el-Asad and Iranian leader Ahmadi Nejad about the summit would be interesting to note. Ahmadi Nejad attended the last Makkah summit in 2005. It adopted a ten-year action plan to strengthen the 57-member organisation, the second largest after the UN.

It is pertinent to note that Saudi King has ordered a major fund-raising programme for the Syrians to alleviate their sufferings. The Saudi Interir Ministry urged all citizens to contribute generously to the fund during the holy month of Ramazan. The announcement has come amid heightened violence across Syria, where Opposition activistssay more than 17,000 people have been killed since the popular uprising erupted in March 2011 against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Pakistan has also been sympathising with the people of Syria. Saudi Arabia and the other peace-loving countries in the Gulf region have repeatedly voiced support for Syrian rebels fighting the Assad government.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said he would attend the conference. OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi in Cairo last week and discussed the main issues to be taken up at the Makkah Summit.

He also discussed the Syrian crisis and the situation of the Muslims in Myanmar with the Egyptian president. It is likely that the Myanmar situation will also be part of the discussions in the Makkah summit.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has been quoted as saying that such a summit was essential to strengthen the Muslim unity and serve the interests of Islam and the Muslims. “We hope the summit will reflect the hopes and aspirations of the Ummah,” he said.

King Abdullah has started sending invitations to heads of states of OIC countries to attend the summit. It is expected that a large number of the Muslim countries would be represented in the summit through their heads of states and governments. President Asif Ali Zardari will hold discussions with fellow leaders turning up for the summit, sources added. Sign up for FREEUpdates.