June 2000 News

Pak minister calls Farooq a puppet

28 June 2000
The Asian Age
Seema Mustafa

New Delhi: The Organisation of Islamic Confer-ence on the first day of its four-day meeting in Kuala Lampur has made it clear that India can hope for better relations with the “Muslim world” only if its solves the Kashmir dispute. OIC secretary-general Ezed-dine Laraki reportedly drew the attention of the OIC leaders present at the meeting towards alleged human rights violations being committed by the Indian security forces in Kashmir. He claimed that the people in Jammu and Kashmir, which was described as “occupied,” were still demanding their right to self determination in accordance with the Simla Agreement and the UN resolutions. The OIC proceedings are being featured prominently in the Pakistan press, with special emphasis on Kashmir. Mr Laraki has been quoted as saying, “it is impossible to ignore the Kashmir issue if India wanted to establish strong and bilateral relations with the Islamic world.” He said that he had made this clear to Indian officials in a meeting with them recently. Delhi’s decision to withdraw recognition to the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, under pressure from influential OIC member Morocco, does not seem to have paid dividends. The OIC has not diluted its observations on Kashmir, with Pakistan being in the forefront of the attack. Pakistan foreign minister Abdus Sattar is quoted in the Islamabad media as having told the OIC foreign ministers that Pakistan was prepared to take “practical measures” to resolve the Kashmir dispute Provided India had realised the need to do so as well. He made it clear that peace in South Asia was linked to the resolution of the Kashmir problem. Significantly Mr Sattar described the All Parties Hurriyat Conference as the true representative of the people of Kashmir. The autonomy resolution passed by the Jammu and Kashmir assembly was dismissed by Mr Sattar who chose to describe chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah as a “puppet” imposed on the people by India. Interestingly the OIC meet which is being held under the banner “Islam and globalisation” had the assembled leaders agreeing that it was time for the Islamic nations to stop squabbling and face the dangers of globalisation unitedly. The Dawn newespaper reported that the gathered leaders were of the view that if this was not done there was every danger that “we will become banana republics.” The foreign ministers from the 56-nation OIC heard appeals to support the Palestinian cause, condemnation of Israel and criticism of Russia’s assault in Chechnya. The Nation reported Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who painted a picture of a divided Muslim world under threat from a hostile West, as saying that information technology would be used to destroy Islamic values unless countries unite. He cited the use of the Internet to spread ‘muck and filth,’ saying more than half of all its business transactions were related to pornography. E-commerce, he said, could wipe out importers, distributors and retailers and government revenues. The Muslim world, he said, was unprepared to face globalisation and the information age because it was technologically backward and poor. ‘In frustration some of our people or even some of the Muslim nations will resort to indiscriminate acts. We will be called terrorists and our countries condemned as the base for terrorist attacks. ‘What we achieve with such acts will be nothing more than minor irritations but the punishment they will mete out to us will be terrible for all our people.’ Mahathir said the Muslim world depended totally on arms ‘from the very people who oppress us’ and open war against oppressors would achieve nothing. ‘At this very moment they can, if they want to, wipe out the Muslims and countries from the surface of the earth. If they haven’t done so, it is not because they care for us,’ he said.


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