Pace of reform and progress in Muslim Ummah needs to be accelerated
By Shaukat Aziz
ISLAMABAD, June 1 (APP): Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, emphasising for improving economic conditions of Muslim Ummah, said Friday there is a need to accelerate the pace of reform and progress in Muslim countries through resolving disputes and working sincerely for a genuine and meaningful cooperation. He was addressing the inaugural session of 2-day international conference on "Islam and current economic issues", organised by Council of Islamic Ideology with the cooperation of Ministry of Religious Affairs and International Islamic University here at the auditorium of National Library.
Referring to grave and multiple challenges being faced by the Muslim Ummah, the Prime Minister said there is a need to impart correct understanding of Islam and the importance of economic uplift as a means of empowering the Ummah.
He said, "We must realize that because of our lack of capacity, compounded by our lack of unity, Muslim nations are often left on the periphery of the global order."
The Prime Minister urged the Muslim Ummah to unite and pool their resources to achieve progress and prosperity.
He said the Muslim Ummah must strive for a renaissance of the Islamic civilization - with all its hallmarks of peace, progress and prosperity, not only for Muslims but for the entire humanity.
He said the Muslim countries are rich in resources and have immense potential for growth and development, individually and collectively.
The Muslim Ummah, Shaukat Aziz said, constitutes one fifth of the world population, with intelligent, industrious and enterprising people.
He said the Muslim world has vast natural resources, including 75% of the world's hydrocarbon resources. Muslim countries account for 40% of the global raw material export, mainly to non-Muslim countries, he added.
The Prime Minister said the economic progress achieved by the Muslim world is far below its potential.
He said although some Muslim countries have made impressive progress but a vast majority of Muslims lives in poverty and backwardness.
The Prime Minister said Muslims make up 20% of the world's population but only 6% of its income, while its share in global trade is barely 7%.
He said presently, no Muslim nation is among the group of developed industrialized countries and out of 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Conference, 31 are classified by the United Nations as least developed low-income countries.
The Prime Minister said there is a need to formulate a clear strategy by the Muslim Ummah for leveraging its potential to reach a level of development.
Referring to growing antagonism between the West and the Muslim world, the Prime Minister said it is wrongly projected by some as a clash of civilizations.
He emphasised the need to promote interfaith harmony through projecting the true image of Islam as it is a religion of peace.
The Prime Minister said, Islam is a complete code of life and an eternal source of guidance for mankind. Islam is a dynamic religion, it lays down the principle of Ijtehad as a mechanism of responding to the changing realities and requirements of life, he added.
He said, "We, in the Muslim world need to project the true face of our faith, the world community also has a responsibility to identify and remove the root-causes of extremism which emanate from injustice and resentment, not only in Muslim societies but in all societies."
Highlighting various measures and steps to improve economic conditions of the Muslim Ummah, the Prime Minister said there is a need to evolve an effective dispute resolution mechanism to resolve issues and problems and put in place a sound framework for mutual cooperation.
He said, "We should broaden and deepen our economic relations with giving importance for ensuring our energy, water and food security".
The Prime Minister said the Muslim Ummah should focus on human development and in particular on education and catch up in the field of science and technology.
He said there is a need to adopt an effective action plan under the auspices of the Organization of Islamic Conference to help the least developed member countries come out of poverty and backwardness.
Shaukat Aziz said the eventual goal should be to create an Islamic Economic Union by entering into multilateral free trade agreements as well as promoting the free flow of capital, labour, goods and services.
He said the OIC and the Islamic Development Bank should be re-positioned and reinvigorated to play their due role in the progress and prosperity of the Muslim Ummah.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the economic achievements in Pakistan through various reforms and policies to rejuvenate and reposition Pakistan in the world.
He said Pakistan is also determined to leverage its strategic location at the crossroads of South, Central and West Asia to promote peace, security and prosperity in the region and especially in the Islamic world.
Earlier, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology Dr. Muhammad Khalid Masood, presenting welcome address, said the CII, established in 1962, has reviewed various laws and almost completed its work.
He said the Council has submitted 35 reports on various laws after review and presented its recommendations.
The Chairman CII said the Council has also recommended to the government to abolish the "jagerdari system" as it is creating imbalance in the economic sector.
He said the present Council will complete its tenure on June 14.
Dr. Muhammad Fahim Khan, from Islamic Development Bank also addressed on this occasion.
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