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Pakistan

Govt will not allow any radical group to challenge writ of state, Qureshi tells EU lawmakers

" FM says Pakistan wants to promote economic cooperation and the link between peace and development * Qureshi says adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in Pakistan reflects a lack of understanding of religious sensitivities * Pakistan wishes to see an end to the Afghan conflict through a negotiated political settlement: Foreign minister
Published May 26, 2021

(Karachi) Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the government will not allow any armed or radical group to challenge its policy. He added a firm action has been taken against such anti-state elements by the government.

Addressing the virtual session of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Qureshi said that after recent protests in Pakistan by a religious organization, the government took immediate action against it.

He stated that the government will not allow any pressure group to challenge the writ of the state. The FM said that Pakistan believes in the policy of restraint and peaceful coexistence.

"Pakistan is well poised to assume an even greater role as a responsible member of the comity of nations."

He stated that Pakistan wants to promote economic cooperation and the link between peace and development. "Our focus is shifting from geopolitics to geo-economics," he emphasized.

Blasphemy laws

The foreign minister expressed disappointment over the adoption of a resolution by the European Parliament on blasphemy laws in Pakistan. He said the European Parliament's action reflected a lack of understanding of blasphemy laws and associated religious sensitivities.

"Wilful provocations and incitement to hate and violence must not be allowed and be universally outlawed," he maintained.

He pointed out that like every other democratic and free society, Pakistan values freedom of expression. "However, it should not be abused to hurt the religious feelings of others."

"Our government has taken concrete steps to deescalate the situation arising from the publication of hurtful sketches and desecration of the Holy Quran in Europe," said FM Qureshi.

Afghan conflict

Regarding the Afghan peace process, Shah Mahmood said that maintaining peace and stability in Afghanistan is important for regional economic integration and trans-regional connectivity.

He said Pakistan wishes to see an end to the Afghan conflict through a negotiated political settlement. He said Pakistan will continue to play a role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

"Pakistan and the European Union have a common interest in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan," Qureshi said.

"There are elements, both inside and outside Afghanistan, which do not want peace and security in the region," he remarked.

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