Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Tuesday called for halting the carnage and killing in Iraq and proposed a Muslim peace keeping force under the United Nations auspices for the war-torn country if all the warring factions agree to it.
Inaugurating the 34th session of the foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Islamabad, Musharraf said that foreign interference in Iraq must stop and its territorial integrity should be respected.
He said that the idea of Muslim peacekeeping force could be looked at if it would lead to peace and resolution of the crisis.
He called for a dispute resolution mechanism within the OIC so that the Islamic states could resolve political disputes themselves without any foreign assistance.
He said that the Muslim world was at the epicenter of most of the conflicts in the world and all major crises involve them and the principal victims of global violence are also Muslims.
Musharraf said the Ummah (the Muslim world) today faced monumental challenges including unresolved political disputes, socio-economic disparities, religious extremism and obscurantism coupled with problem of the misperception of Islam.
He said that the Muslim countries need to work collectively for their socio-economic emancipation and it was also obligatory on the industrialized states to fulfill their obligations under U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
"We also need to narrow down the socio-economic gap internally and called upon the resource rich Muslim countries to share their wealth and resources with the less developed members of the Ummah, " he said.
He said that religious extremism with sectarian undertones would not only undermine their socio-economic development but also spell disaster for the entire world.
Musharraf said that the OIC members happened to be the poorest of the world with their collective GDP less than a single industrialized country of Europe despite possessing 70 percent of the world's energy resources and 30 percent of other natural resources.
He said that the Muslim countries had very dismal literacy rate and with little or no industrial base they would not be able to achieve economic development and prosperity. He said that the whole Muslim world boast of having 500 universities while Japan alone had over 1,000 universities, especially in the field of science and technology.
The Pakistani president emphasized the need for the resource- rich Muslim states to help each other so that they could lessen their dependence on external support and assistance which undermines their sovereignty.
Delegations from 57 OIC members are present at the three-day conference, according to the Pakistani foreign office.
They are expected to consider and adopt resolutions on the whole range of political, economic, social and cultural matters confronting the Muslim world.
The theme for the interactive ministerial session is "Countering Discrimination and Intolerance against Muslims and Defamation of Islam".
During the interactive brainstorming session, ministers would provide useful guidance for the OIC to engage constructively in the ongoing multilateral discourse on the need for dialogue among civilizations.
A number of important meetings will be held on the sidelines of the foreign ministers' conference including those on Middle East and Jammu and Kashmir.