The 16th NAM summit concluded on Saturday. It came up with a long declaration of over 600 pages that, among others, condemned Islamophobia, demanded global nuclear disarmament, talked about rights of Palestinians and did not stop short of accepting Iran’s right to pursue a nuclear programme. A day earlier, President Zardari had fittingly cautioned against a war on Iran, urged an end to violence in Syria and thankfully underscored the need for a resolution of Kashmir as well.

A flaw of an over-ambitious declaration is that it boosts the egos of the participating states but often ends up gathering dust. If these goals are to be realised in foreseeable future, there is definitely a lot that the organisation needs to do, a fact correctly noted by President Zardari who called for it to change itself in order to grapple with various crisis afflicting member countries. NAM’s idealism is one thing that is in conflict with how international affairs are carried out. Many if not most of the countries largely Muslims that the summit’s agenda encompassed are in an abyss, owing partly due to their infighting. Their hobnobbing with power blocks makes a travesty of NAM’s philosophy. Though this is not to belittle a handful of countries that stand invariably neutral, the organisation as a single entity has a long way to go to play the role envisioned in its manifesto.