ISLAMABAD: The 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation convened in Islamabad on Sunday at the National Assembly Hall, with 20 foreign ministers and 10 deputy foreign ministers from around the Muslim world in attendance.

The historic event, convened by Saudi Arabia as OIC chair and sponsored by Pakistan, is attended by 70 delegates who will examine the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

It began with the reciting of Holy Quran verses. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is presiding over the meeting.

The special session of the OIC is significant since it is part of the rising worldwide concern over Afghanistan’s humanitarian catastrophe and the urgent need to solve it.

Other invitees include the UN system, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), international and regional organisations, and non-OIC members such as the P-5, EU, and important nations such as Germany and Japan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will deliver a keynote presentation at the opening session to emphasise the issue and attract international attention to Afghanistan’s deteriorating position.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the chair of the Extraordinary Session, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, the OIC Summit Chair, and OIC Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha would also speak.

The session will also feature speeches from OIC Regional Groups from Asia, Africa, and the Arab world, as well as Dr Muhammad Al-Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank.

The session was called at the request of the OIC Summit Chair, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Late Saturday evening, a group from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia arrived. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, headed the group. The guests were welcomed by Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, SAPM on Interfaith Harmony Allama Tahir Ashrafi, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Maliki, and top Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials.

Foreign ministers, deputy foreign ministers, foreign secretary, and other senior government officials have arrived in Islamabad from Turkey, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, and Palestine.

The administration has finished all preparations at Parliament House in preparation for the OIC session, including the installation of red carpets and flower displays in the halls to greet visitors.

Participants from the United Nations, international financial organisations, and certain non-member governments, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the European Union, are among the special invitees.

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