Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Regional Forum (ARF) members to raise voice against the rise of "Islamophobia" and extremist tendencies in the region and around the globe.
Emphasising on Pakistan's commitment to interfaith harmony, the foreign minister informed that Pakistan took the milestone step of opening the ‘Kartarpur Corridor’ last year to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India and elsewhere. The foreign minister participated in the 27th Asean Regional Forum (ARF) held online.
The meeting was chaired by Vietnam and attended by foreign ministers and senior government officials of the Asean Regional Forum, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office quoting its spokesperson.
In his video remarks, Qureshi also called for a concerted international effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and to develop a vaccine that was accessible to all as a global public good.
He also highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan's ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for the developing countries to help create enhanced fiscal capacity to tackle the negative economic consequences of the pandemic.
Qureshi also apprised the forum of the progress made by Pakistan in the field of counter-terrorism. He underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was central to regional peace.
Highlighting Pakistan's positive contributions, he reaffirmed Pakistan's steadfast support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
Noting that the US-Taliban Peace Agreement of February 29, 2020 represented a significant step forward, the foreign minister underlined the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement through Intra-Afghan negotiations.
The foreign minister, in his video remarks, condemned moves by states to alter the demographics of disputed territories under their illegal occupation and stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes according to relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
On the issue of South China Sea, he reaffirmed Pakistan's support for the ongoing negotiations of Code of Conduct and underlined that the concerned parties may find solution through consensus.
The foreign minister also announced that Pakistan will be co-hosting the 24th ARF Heads of Defence Universities/Colleges/Institutions Meeting with Malaysia in 2021.
(With additional input from APP)
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