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Pakistan Deaths
Pakistan Cases

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for an early resolution of the longstanding unresolved disputes of Kashmir and Palestine at the ASEM Summit (ASEM13) on Thursday, terming these as the root causes of conflicts that continue to threaten international peace and security.

In his virtual address to 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), hosted by Cambodia under the theme “Strengthening Multilatera-lism for Shared Growth”, Qureshi emphasised the need for working together “more than ever before” and strengthen multilateralism to address the threats posed by pandemics, climate change, poverty alleviation, terrorism, migration from conflict zones, civil strife, trans-national organized crime, security of trade routes, cybercrimes, and abuse of social media.

“Conflict prevention and resolution is our shared objective. We must address the root causes of conflicts, especially longstanding unresolved disputes that continue to threaten international peace and security, and are characterized by egregious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” he said, adding that Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir are glaring examples.

The foreign minister said that terrorism and violent extremism are global phenomena and the international community requires comprehensive, coherent and effective responses based on greater cooperation, as well as, understanding of the underlying causes.

“Terrorism cannot be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group,” he underscored.

He pointed out that Pakistan has been in the forefront of international efforts to combat terrorism, adding that it has contributed immensely to the success of this endeavour.

“But this has come at a great cost: over 80,000 causalities and more than US$150 billion in losses to our economy. Yet, we remain resolute,” he added.

On Afghanistan, Qureshi said that for Pakistan, as the immediate neighbour that has suffered for 40 years from conflict and instability next door, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is of paramount importance.

He said that Pakistan’s all efforts in support of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan over the years have been guided by that imperative.

He said that security and well-being of all Afghans is the top most priority.

“This is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history. We must clearly recognize the challenges and the opportunities. There is, finally, an opportunity to end the 40-year war and enable all Afghans to reconcile and rebuild. Our message is clear: Past mistakes must not be repeated. Afghanistan must not be abandoned,” he added.

He warned that a humanitarian crisis and economic collapse in Afghanistan will have enormous consequences for the rest of the world. The international community must; therefore, remain positively engaged to avert a crisis, and to advance our shared objectives of peace, security, development and connectivity, he added.

He added that connectivity cuts across the three pillars of ASEM and for Pakistan, it is of utmost importance in the context of our policy shift from geo-politics to geo-economics based on peace and security, development partnerships and connectivity. Regional connectivity remains fundamental to Pakistan’s pivot to geo-economics, he added.

Qureshi added that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with its flagship project the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) traversing Pakistan and connecting South Asia to China, Central Asia, the Middle East, as well as, Europe and Africa through the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar will enhance connectivity in our broader region.

“It will not only provide high speed corridors from far-flung areas to port cities, reducing travel time and operating costs, but will also create more jobs for the whole region enhancing the levels of prosperity,” he added.

In accordance with the ASEM’s principles of informality, flexibility, mutual respect in the spirit of consensus, equal partnership and mutual benefit, he said, we should more proactively promote socio-cultural and educational exchanges among the citizens of our countries.

This will boost linkages and augment the impact and visibility of ASEM, he said, adding that this will increase the understanding of different cultural, national and social perspectives, and promote our common vision of multilateralism to help us better tackle the common challenges together.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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