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Pak grants food of $5mln to Rohingya camps, draws UN attention to issue

ISLAMABAD: A cabinet committee formed to tackle issues over the plight of Rohingya Muslims has decided on a $5 million grant in the form of food to be channelled through the World Food Program for distribution in Rohingya camps in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Pakistan will also appeal to the United Nations to impress upon the Myanmar government to grant Rohingya Muslims equal citizenship rights and ensure the protection of the oppressed minority community.

Recommendations to intensify diplomatic efforts in this regard were made by the special committee— comprising Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Tariq Fatmi— which were approved by PM Nawaz Sharif.

According to the committee’s recommendations, the prime minister will write a letter to the United Nations Secretary General, as well as the President of the UN Security Council, highlighting the humanitarian crisis and asking for further intensification of diplomatic and moral pressure on the Myanmar government to grant adequate citizenship rights to the Rohingya community in accordance with international humanitarian laws.

Simultaneously, the adviser to the prime minister will address another letter to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General to propose the creation of a special OIC fund to provide food and other assistance to Rohingya Muslims who have left Myanmar and also those still living there.

The committee will also attempt to sensitise the international community to encourage greater assistance in all forms to the Rohingya Muslims, who are neither claimed by their government nor given shelter in neighbouring countries.

In addition, Pakistan will propose the establishment of a three-member committee of OIC foreign ministers who will travel to Myanmar in order to impress upon the Myanmar government to restore fundamental rights of the Rohingya community so they can live peacefully without fear of persecution.

Nisar vehemently pleaded the case of the Rohingya Muslims and raised the issue twice during the last two cabinet meetings.

The plight of the Rohingyas evoked immediate response from the prime minister and cabinet members and it was decided that a committee led by the interior minister would be constituted to chalk out an effective response to the issue.

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