As part of highlighting the need for engagement with Afghanistan, Pakistan is hosting the 17th Extraordinary Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad on December 19. The session is being convened at the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the OIC Summit Chair. After 41 years, Pakistan is once again hosting a meeting of the OIC foreign ministers. The meeting of the OIC FMs was first held in January 1980. Besides the foreign ministers from the OIC Member States and Observers, the participants would also include special invitees from the United Nations system, international financial institutions and some non-member states including the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan, as well as the EU. The Afghan interim government would also be represented at the CFM. The meeting is being convened in the backdrop of the aggravating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Besides expressing solidarity with the Afghan people, the CFM is expected to explore avenues for containing and reversing the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, especially in terms of food shortages, displacement of people and a potential economic collapse. “Pakistan has always maintained that continued engagement of the international community with Afghanistan is imperative and hosting of the CFM is another manifestation of its intense diplomatic outreach to consolidate support for the people of Afghanistan,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. It said the 17th Extraordinary Session reflects Pakistan’s abiding commitment and consistent efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the continued well-being of the Afghan people. “The Extraordinary Session would provide an opportunity to consider practical and concrete steps to help address the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people,” it added. Pakistan and Afghanistan are founding members of the OIC. Over the years, Pakistan and the OIC have extended consistent support to the people of Afghanistan. The first Extraordinary Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers was also held in Islamabad, in January 1980, also to consider the situation in Afghanistan. The last CFM hosted by Pakistan was in 2007. The Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) will be preceded by the senior officials meeting on December 18. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Friday said at least 90 foreign delegates had arrived in Islamabad to deliberate and find a way out of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Talking to APP, after reviewing arrangements for visiting dignitaries at the Islamabad International Airport, he asked the officials to ensure maximum facilitation to the guests. The foreign minister was accompanied by Aftab Ahmed Khokhar, head of the reception committee and Ambassador of Pakistan to Austria. It would be a wonderful event, he said and hoped that the arriving delegates during their stay would enjoy the pleasant weather of the federal capital. To a query, he said the arrival of president Islamic Development Bank Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser would open doors for humanitarian aid to Afghan people. “There is a need to put in place an institutional mechanism for providing direct and timely assistance to the people of war-torn country,” he added. He expressed gratitude to the OIC Secretariat on behalf of his government for extending all possible cooperation for holding the moot.