Three-day holiday in Capital but no suspension of mobile services

Mobile services will not be suspended during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit, which will be held in Islamabad for three days from December 17–19, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed announced Friday.

The OIC’s Extraordinary Session of Foreign Ministers will start on December 17.

Meanwhile, the federal capital will also enjoy a three-day weekend from Saturday to Monday, the Islamabad deputy commissioner tweeted shortly after Rasheed presser.

In a statement to the media, the interior minister stated that the “historic” OIC summit on Afghanistan will be held in Parliament, and informed that security arrangements had been made with the assistance of the Pakistan Army and other security agencies.

However, he said that the interior ministry and chief commissioner of police have decided not to suspend mobile services in the city during the OIC Conference.

The interior minister expressed regret for the inconvenience caused to those entering and exiting the Red Zone as a result of the security arrangements.

Earlier, the Ministry of Interior, in a notification, said that mobile phone services will be blocked from the Islamabad Airport to the Red Zone. The ministry said it had sent a letter to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in this regard.

Sheikh Rasheed said that the conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will convene for the first time in 41 years under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership.

In relation to Afghanistan, the interior minister stated that the crisis is posing a humanitarian catastrophe.

He remarked that the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Conference will play a meaningful role in resolving the crisis.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had announced that Pakistan will host an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Addressing a press conference, the minister highlighted that the objective behind the extraordinary session is to highlight the need for urgent assistance and mobilisation of resources to avert a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in war-torn Afghanistan.

“If we don’t pay timely attention, half of Afghanistan’s population (22.8 million people) can face food shortage while 3.2 million children may face malnutrition,” Qureshi said, adding that this is the magnitude which “we and the world should understand”.

He said: “Considering the gravity of the situation, Pakistan has made an effort and moved ahead to host the international event realising that, if not addressed timely, the situation would have dire consequences for Afghanistan, its neighbours as well as the whole region.”

Pakistan is the founding member of the OIC, the OIC Assistant secretary-general said on Thursday, adding that the country played a very important role for the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah, and its offer to host this meeting was a clear testimony to its commitment to Islamic solidarity.

“Pakistan is also committed to regional security and international security,” he added.

Inflation and unemployment have surged in Afghanistan, and international aid that made up 75% of the previous US-backed government’s budget has completely dried up.

The Taliban seized power on August 15 after ousting the previous US-backed government, as Washington hurriedly withdrew its troops from the country after a 20-year war.

The Taliban’s previous regime was toppled in a US-led invasion after the 9/11 attacks in the United States that were carried out by Al-Qaeda.

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