ISLAMABAD: Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Monday apprised the Senate that geo-political situation in Middle-East and Arab countries called for greater Muslim Ummah unity.
Replying to a motion moved by Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan to discuss hardships being faced by overseas Pakistanis due to the acts of terrorism in Western countries and the remedies to lessen the same, he said in the last Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers meeting held in Kuwait, it was decided that the Muslim scholars should be invited to develop a counter-narrative against ongoing propaganda against the Muslims and Islam in the United States and the West.
Counter-efforts of Pakistan and other Muslim countries, he said, were gaining momentum. The geo-political situation demanded greater unity as unfortunately the Arab countries were going through turmoil with sectarian dimension.
Sartaj Aziz said Islam was a religion of peace, which did not believe in violence. The counter-narrative literature should be disseminated to project true image of the religion and counter the propaganda.
The issue, he added, would be discussed in the next OIC meeting to be held in Turkey.
Aziz agreed that the Western media was controlled largely by forces which were not pro-Muslim.
He, however, added that some prominent leaders, including US President Obama, themselves had disapproved the rhetoric based on hatred against the Muslims and even civil society had also rejected this.
He said the OIC had held regular sessions on ‘Islamophobia’ for chalking out a collective strategy.
The advisor said that Pakistan had taken a number of actions and sent several circulars to missions for taking care of the overseas Pakistanis, who though had not faced any assault or attack but they did face discrimination.
Sartaj Aziz said he had held a meeting with Pakistani ambassadors last week to discuss the matter in detail and how to chalk out the counter-narrative.
He said it was also important that the community should themselves get organized and approach respective high commissions and embassies in case of problems.
The advisor said the Foreign Ministry had contacted Western countries to highlight steps taken by Pakistan in the war on terrorism and they acknowledged its efforts and sacrifices.
He said that anti-Muslim rhetoric would continue till election of the next US President as it was a hot issue with some politicians while counter-narrative was also coming from inside the US.
Sartaz Aziz said that Pakistan had to activate its own media for the counter-narrative. “Proposal for using Muslim scholars and a united action is also equally important.”
He said that Pakistan was also supporting Western countries on the issue of illegal immigration and human trafficking and they were appreciating Pakistan’s positive role.
He said their missions abroad were well aware of its responsibilities and assisting Pakistani diaspora.