Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday and Wednesday with an ambitious agenda that seeks approval for over 100 declarations, including aid for Afghanistan and support for Palestine and Kashmir.
Foreign ministers of Muslim nations have gathered in Pakistan as the country's leader touts his achievement of getting Islamophobia recognised at the United Nations while at the same time battling the most serious challenge to his government in four years.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday and Wednesday with an ambitious agenda that seeks approval for over 100 declarations, including aid for financially strapped Afghanistan and support for Palestine and Kashmir.
But as officials praise Prime Minister Imran Khan for getting the UN last week to formally recognise Islamophobia as a global threat, the cricket star-turned-politician faces a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly.
In a hectic week on the political front, the country on Wednesday also celebrates Pakistan Day, with a military parade and flypasts.
The theme for the OIC gathering is "Partnering for Unity, Justice and Development", and Khan will deliver the keynote speech that is sure to reference last week's UN resolution.
Khan won office through an electorate weary of the two-party dynasties that have dominated Pakistan politics since independence –– periods of power punctuated by military coups –– but now he faces a new challenge.
"I think the army leadership must be extremely concerned seeing what is happening on the political scene at the moment," said Talat Masood, a retired general-turned-political analyst.
Khan has called for a million of his supporters to rally in the capital next week to put pressure on dozens of National Assembly members who are reported to be considering voting against him.
The leaders of the two main opposition parties have also called for their supporters to gather, prompting authorities to declare most of this week a public holiday in the hope of avoiding conflict –– particularly during the OIC meeting.
READ MORE: Pakistan lawmakers to vote on motion to oust PM Imran Khan next week
'A collision course'
"It is dragging the country to chaos," Masood said.
"It seems that the government and opposition parties are on a collision course. They don't seem to solve the problems politically, and rather try to show their street power."
The no-confidence motion is scheduled to be formally introduced on Friday with a vote next week, but horse-trading is common in Pakistan politics and the rebels could well return to the fold before then.
Although Khan's policies helped Pakistan escape the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic, the economy is in the doldrums with soaring inflation, a feeble rupee, and crippling debt.
While Pakistan helped US-Taliban reach a deal leading to US end 20-year invasion of Afghanistan, the return of the Taliban to power in has also provoked a resurgence of militancy in Pakistan.
With flaring domestic issues, Khan visited Russia and met President Putin for hours just when Moscow was about to launch its offensive against Ukraine.
He was also one of the few world leaders to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics when others boycotted in protest at China's human rights record.
Khan criticised Islamabad-based Western envoys who recently sought to pressure Pakistan to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine, asking them if they thought Pakistan was their "slave".
"We are friends with Russia, and we are also friends with America; we are friends with China and with Europe; we are not in any camp," Khan added, saying Pakistan would remain "neutral" and work with those trying to end the war in Ukraine.
On Monday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told a press conference he had intelligence inputs that the vote of no confidence against PM Khan was happening at the behest of foreign powers.
READ MORE: 'Are we your slaves': Pakistani premier hits out at West over Russia letter
There are several scenarios at play for Pakistan this week.
Khan's PTI party is pursuing a court case against rebellious members that could force them to follow the whip.
Another tactic is for parties to, quite literally, hold lawmakers hostage and prevent them from voting or having a quorum.
And even if Khan does lose the vote, there will likely be a series of challenges both inside and outside the assembly.
Most of that will be lost on today's OIC gathering, which is largely a talking shop that will pass a series of political resolutions.
Key among them is channelling aid to Afghanistan, although any formal recognition of the country's new Taliban government remains unlikely.
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