Qureshi discusses rising Islamophobia with German, Finnish counterparts

Foreign minister takes up Kashmir dispute; thanks Germany for assistance in fight against Covid-19


NEWS DESK November 02, 2020
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. PHOTO: RADIO PAKISTAN

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussed with his German and Finnish counterparts a range of issues including Covid-19, Afghan peace process, Kashmir dispute and rising Islamophobia in western countries.

“Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas today. The two sides discussed bilateral relations, Covid-19 pandemic and Afghan peace process,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on Monday.

FM Qureshi expressed condolences on the loss of precious lives due to Covid-19 pandemic and commended Germany’s effective strategy to contain the virus.

He also thanked his German counterpart for assistance provided to Pakistan against the Covid-19 pandemic. He underscored that collective effort by the international community was the only way forward.

On the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Qureshi shared deep concerns over the increasingly deteriorating human rights situation as well as the intensification of the military crackdown by occupation forces and attempts to change the demographic structure of the disputed territory.

He underlined Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan reconciliation and expressed the hope that the Afghan leadership would seize this historic opportunity through Intra-Afghan negotiations to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan by achieving an inclusive, broad-base and comprehensive political settlement.

FM Qureshi added that Islamabad supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process, stressing the need to guard against the role of ‘spoilers’ who did not wish to see return of peace and stability.

He also expressed concerns on the current rise of Islamophobia, racism and hate speech in Europe. He mentioned that denigration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) through publication of blasphemous caricatures was hurtful to the Muslim community around the world.

“The growing insensitivities to the sentiments of Muslims across the globe by the proponents of freedom of expression had made minorities in those countries vulnerable. There was an urgent need to promote inter-faith harmony,” the statement quoted Qureshi as saying.

The two sides agreed to continue close and consistent engagement to enhance cooperation in all spheres of shared interests.

In a separate statement, the Foreign Office said that FM Qureshi held a telephone call with the Foreign Minister of Finland, Pekka Haavisto.

“The two sides appreciated the positive developments in bilateral relations and exchanged views on a broad range of subjects including Covid-19 pandemic, Afghan peace process, situation in IIOJK,” it added.

Qureshi briefed his Finnish counterpart that Pakistan’s timely and effective response to the Covid-19 crisis was lauded as a success story internationally.

Pakistan’s strategy to contain the Covid-19 pandemic was based on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s emphasis on saving lives, securing livelihoods, and stimulating the economy, he added.

The official communiqué said the two sides discussed the situation in Afghanistan in the context of recent developments.

Noting Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process, the foreign minister underscored the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

Noting the recent visits of senior Afghan officials including Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Speaker of Wolesi Jirga Mir Rahman Rahmani to Pakistan, FM Qureshi stressed that the Afghan parties must seize this historic opportunity to establish durable peace and stability in Afghanistan through intra-Afghan negotiations.

He also highlighted the need to be cognisant of the role of ‘spoilers’ which could derail the efforts for peace and stability.

He expressed deep concern over the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in IIOJK, the intensified military crackdown by Indian occupation forces, and attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.

Qureshi called upon the international community to take cognisance of the egregious human rights abuses in IIOJK and to facilitate efforts to resolve the dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions.

“The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to expand bilateral relations especially in the area of trade, investment and support at international fora. It was agreed to continue close engagement to enhance cooperation in all spheres of common interest,” read the official statement.

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