On Thursday (February 21), the leaders of the Muslim world began arriving to attend the 3-day Islamic Summit opening in Lahore today (Friday).
On Thursday (February 21), the leaders of the Muslim world began arriving to attend the 3-day Islamic Summit opening in Lahore today (Friday). They arrived amid growing speculation that the 26-month cold war which began when Bangladesh broke away from Pakistan, was about to end. These remours proved right, for, as the Conference opened today, Pakistan's Prime Minister Ali Bhutto announced that Pakistan formally recognised Bangladesh as an independent country. It was also announced that Bangladesh would send a delegation to the summit on Saturday (23 February). It is rumoured that the leader will be Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who would be returning to the country that held him prisoner for nine months until he was freed in January 1972, at the end of the Indo-Pakistan war.
The conference itself is the largest Islamic Summit in history. Thirty-seven countries are attending from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The agenda, which was finalised by a seventeen-man committee of foreign ministers of Wednesday, will concentrate on the Middle East situation.
SYNOPSIS: At Lahore International Airport in Northern Pakistan, on Thursday, dozens of troops were deployed in a tight security net - ready for the arrival of delegates to the largest Islamic Summit Conference in history.
To greet them were President Chaudry and Prime Minister Bhutto of Pakistan. One of the first leaders of the thirty-seven countries to be represented was President Tombalbaye of Chad. He arrived amid strong speculation that Bangladesh, which broke away from Pakistan two years ago, and Pakistan were about to settle their differences.
Another arrival for the three-day conference was President Hamani Diori of Niger. All together thirty heads of state and prime ministers were scheduled to attend. But dominating the conference would be the Arab leaders, like Sheikh Zaid, Ruler of Abu Dhabi. On Wednesday, a seventeen-man committee of foreign ministers agreed that the summit should concentrate on the problems of the Middle East. Resolutions calling for Israeli withdrawal from ali occupied Arab territory, the securing of the national rights of the Palestinians and the restoration of the City of Jerusalem to its traditional status were to be put to the summit which began of Friday.
Prime Minister Takieddin El-Solh of Lebanon, whose country shares a common border with Israel, would be one of the delegates most concerned in the response to these resolutions. But next day, the headlines were to be dominated by Prime Minister Bhutto when he confirmed the speculation and announced that Pakistan had agreed to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country - finally healing the bitterness of the Indo-Pakistan war twenty-six months ago. It was also announced that Bangladesh would send a delegation to the conference on Saturday.
Lets to arrive was Mahmoud Riad - for eight years Egypt's foreign minister and now Secretary General of the Arab League - he was forecast to be a dominating personality at the conference.