“Now is the time for the world to walk the talk, stand up for the people of Afghanistan, and be counted,” said the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mr Ali Muhammad Khan. He gave the remarks while delivering his keynote address at a panel discussion on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and international responsibility organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) here on Friday. Mr Ali Muhammad Khan urged the Muslim countries of the world-gathering for the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad on December 19-to agree on a way forward for assisting the people of Afghanistan in this time of need. The Director of the Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum Brig (Retd) Ishaq Ahmed shared that 600,000-800,000 Afghans were internally displaced in the country, 80 per cent of which were women. He added that 14 million Afghans were going hungry and one-third of its population was facing food insecurity. Brig (Retd) Ahmed also alluded towards the health and banking sector deficiencies of the country. He urged the international community to assist the Afghans in helping themselves by providing them with food and medicines in the short-run but capacity building in and lifting of restrictions related to international financial transactions for long-term impact. The Director General of the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University Dr Maria Sultan warned that if Afghanistan would fail as a state in the given circumstances, the international community would be blamed for it. She added that a state failure in Afghanistan would not be because of a civil war or because the Afghans did not want to work for their economic prosperity but because the international community failed them by refusing to assist them in helping themselves. Former diplomat Ambassador Asif Durrani termed the upcoming OIC Council of Foreign Ministers’ summit as an opportunity for the Afghans to present their case in front of the other Muslim countries of the world. He added that although the Taliban would not be occupying the seat of Afghanistan at the session, they will still have the opportunity not only to engage with the member countries of the OIC but also with the representatives of the five permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council as well as the representatives of the EU who were also invited to the summit. Director of Economic Affairs and National Development at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies Dr Usman Chohan stated that internal economy of Afghanistan was never strengthened during the 20-year-long presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. He added that 75 per cent of the economy was dependent on foreign assistance even at that time, which resulted in an economic gridlock upon their withdrawal. The little economic activity that could be generated, according to him, was held hostage to lack of faith in the present and future of the current dispensation in Afghanistan. President IRS Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz thanked all the worthy panellists for their valuable contributions and expressed his hope that the upcoming OIC Council of Foreign Ministers summit would result in something concrete for averting the existing humanitarian crisis and the future economic recovery of Afghanistan.