Regional peace linked to Kashmir solution: FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi

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MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday said sustainable peace in the region would remain a dream until the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir is resolved as per the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the aspirations of Kashmiri people.

In his virtual address to the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) from here, he said a brutal military siege and communications blockade since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of last August have destroyed life in Indian-held Kashmir. He apprised the meeting that India’s move has resulted in crippled livelihoods and imperiled the core identity of the people of IHK. He stressed that repression against Kashmiris and denying them their fundamental right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions, is against the fundamental principles of the CICA.

Qureshi said Pakistan has always been at the forefront of all international initiatives for promoting peace, tolerance, inter-cultural and inter-faith harmony and respect both at home and abroad. He reiterated Pakistan’s firm commitment to global and regional peace and stability, and towards the socio-economic welfare of its people through partnerships at regional and sub-regional levels. “We believe that a peaceful and secure environment, regionally as well as globally, would substantially contribute towards sustainable economic growth and development, reduction in poverty and enhance the welfare of our people,” he said. Terming as ”historic” the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, the foreign minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan has long maintained that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan as a ”political solution is the only way forward”.

Qureshi expressed satisfaction that Pakistan’s perspective is now widely shared across the international community and urged Afghan leaders to seize the historic opportunity by working for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. Successful culmination of intra-Afghan negotiations remains indispensable for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond, he said. He emphasized Pakistan’s facilitation of the process that culminated in the US-Taliban Peace Agreement in Doha on February 29 this year. Spoilers, he said, both internal and external, could pose formidable challenges that required constant vigilance to guard against their machinations.

He highlighted the alarming situation of the global resurgence of xenophobia, Islamophobia, hatred and acts of violence against minorities. He pointed out the disproportionate growth in hate speech and stigmatization of Muslim communities and individuals, including happening in Pakistan’s neighbourhood. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to promote peace, stability and development in the region.

Qureshi said as COVID-19 affected the entire globe with unprecedented health, humanitarian and economic challenges, the cooperative multilateralism offered the best mechanism to effectively address these issues. Pakistan like other nations worked for a concerted international effort to fight the pandemic and develop a vaccine accessible for global public good.

He mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal of ”Global Initiative on Debt Relief ” for developing countries to achieve enhanced fiscal capacity and tackle negative consequences of the pandemic. He said Pakistan supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative and is proud to be a key player in one of its flagship projects China Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said besides Pakistan’s development, the CPEC would ensure benefit to Central Asian and Eurasian neighbours.

He expressed gratitude to outgoing Foreign Minister of Tajikistan for his dynamic leadership of CICA during the last two years and congratulated Mukhtar Tileuberdi as Kazakhstan assumed the CICA chairmanship.

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