Musharraf proposes Muslim peacekeeping force for Iraq

Islamabad, May 16 (IANS) Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has mooted a Muslim peacekeeping force for Iraq under the United Nations umbrella, but said the stakeholders must approve of the idea.

“We have to stop all outside interference in Iraq, the mass killings. If all the warring factions… different factions, if they accept, then may be a Muslim peacekeeping force under the United Nations umbrella could be looked at, if that leads to peace and resolution of the crisis,” he said while opening the 34th session of the Islamic Conference of foreign ministers (ICFM) Tuesday.

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Musharraf referred to internal conflicts, socio-economic disparity and “Islamophobia” in the West and called for collective measures to improve the situation.

“Disparity between the Muslim world and the West is increasing… the onus is on the current leaders of the Muslim world to convert the descendent course to ascendant one,” he added.

The Pakistani President pointed at the “weaknesses, vulnerabilities and socio-economic disparity” facing the Islamic world and urged a balanced approach to deal with these problems.

“This is leading to despondence, dejection and anger in the Muslim world,” he was quoted by The News.

“Let us help ourselves to rise collectively and socio-economically to correct the image of Islam internally and externally,” he added. The president said the Muslim world today was at the epicentre of most of the conflicts and the masses were the principal victims of global violence.

He said the world viewed Islam as militant and this thought was being strengthened by the obscurantist forces.

He underlined the need for resolving political disputes in the Muslim world and described Palestine issue as the core of political disputes, saying it was affecting all other issues.

“Failure is no more an option now,” he said and added that a spirit of give and take was necessary to resolve the disputes.

On Afghanistan, Musharraf reaffirmed Pakistan’s support to the Bonn Process and said he believed that to deal with the crisis “we have to be clear on ground realities in the existing environment very clearly, very accurately”.