The presence of over 150 delegates from 54 countries in Islamabad is a testament to the fact that Pakistan is becoming a more influential member of the global community.
In a short amount of time, Pakistan was able to gather the foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries as well as delegates from the P5 + 1 countries on one platform to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. How often do we see the foreign ministers of both Saudi Arabia and Iran on one forum?
Notwithstanding the fact that Pakistan stands to gain most from peace in Afghanistan, it must be understood and appreciated that the world has responded to Pakistan’s call for help for the Afghan people.
The establishment of a humanitarian trust fund as a result of the OIC meeting in Pakistan is the beginning of various steps in order to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
Whether it’s the United Nations or the Islamic Development Bank, various international organisations have realised the need to support Afghan people at this crucial time when poverty rates are skyrocketing due to the political situation of the country.
While the world has genuine concerns and apprehensions about the new government in Afghanistan, the Afghan people should not be punished or ignored by the world because of their rulers.
Pakistan has continued to support International engagement with the new government in Afghanistan so that solutions to the crisis includes multilateral efforts of various stakeholders who all desire the same goal: peace in Afghanistan.
While Pakistan has been acclaimed for the diplomatic masterstroke by conducting the 17th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Islamabad, the biggest beneficiary of this meeting are the Afghan people who are looking towards the world for timely help.
It must also be clarified that engagement with the new government, especially in regards to providing humanitarian assistance does not equate to recognition of the new government in Afghanistan.
The international community needs to understand that if timely aid is to reach the people of Afghanistan, then engagement with the new government is paramount.
The OIC meeting in Pakistan also featured Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, who engaged with diplomats and journalists in order to stress the need for economic opportunities for the people of Afghanistan.
For the West, the Taliban leadership may seem foreign, distant and difficult to relate to but it must be acknowledged that for the first time in almost 3 decades, the Afghans are ruling Afghanistan again.
The Taliban leadership must also understand that without providing guarantees to protect human rights, especially the rights of women to work and access education, they will be unable to establish strong bonds with the international community.
Only with unity of purpose can the global community take Afghanistan out of the current crisis and Pakistan has shown the resolve to lead these efforts.
As a young journalist witnessing the historic session in Islamabad yesterday, I felt a ray of hope for the future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the entire region.
Together, we can ensure peace and stability.