Peaceful resolution of disputes critical for sustainable peace in South Asia: Bilawal
PHNOM PENH, Aug 6, 2022 (APP): Minister for Foreign Affairs Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Saturday said peaceful resolution of long-standing disputes in South Asia was critical for sustainable peace and long-term prosperity of people. Speaking at the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial meeting here, he said, “We also believe that, while focusing on the Ukrainian conflict, the world must not lose sight of other disputes, protracted conflicts, and situations of foreign occupation, which have the potential to destabilize the entire Asia-Pacific region.”
“We strongly condemn and reject illegal and unilateral measures to perpetuate unlawful occupation and to effect demographic changes in occupied territories, in gross violation of UN Security Council resolutions and international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention.” He said such actions had vitiated the environment for meaningful and result-oriented dialogue. Given the right conducive conditions, all outstanding disputes could be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy in the interest of regional peace, stability, and prosperity.
He congratulated the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) family for coming together at this important juncture in the collective efforts to promote dialogue and cooperation for peace and stability in the Asia Pacific.
“As we gather today for in-person meetings after several months of long-distance diplomacy, our region and the world at large are beset with challenges in multiple domains.” “This is truly an inflection point in history, and the steps we take or fail to take, would have profound consequences for the future,” the minister noted.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented in terms of its global scale as well as socio-economic impact. The international cooperation and solidarity that it engendered was also unparalleled. “Yet, we also saw the unfortunate rise of the phenomenon of vaccine nationalism as countries competed for the same resources to save lives and protect their populations.” Going forward, he said it would be important to develop mechanisms and processes for a more coordinated response to future health crises, undertake efforts to ensure vaccine equity, and fight future pandemics in a more humane manner.
Covid-19 exacerbated the economic woes of nations from North to South. Supply chains were disrupted, unemployment mounted, growth rates plummeted, and debt burden accumulated, Bilawal continued. He said the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) was laudable for providing much needed relief to developing countries in distress. “More can, and should, be done for reinforcing the recovery efforts, especially in the global South.”
He called climate change an existential threat and said its impact on sustainable development and human well-being was incalculable. “As I speak, my country is ravaged by floods caused by unprecedented rains. Dozens of towns and villages have been inundated and thousands have been displaced,” he informed adding, “We fear that the damage to crops would exacerbate food insecurity and inflation that have already reached alarming levels because of the current global trends.”
“We need to collectively respond to the threat posed by climate change — by equitably sharing the burden and the responsibility. In order to mitigate its negative impact and to adapt meaningfully, the promised climate finance must be made available to the developing countries.” “The skyrocketing of fuel and food prices has imposed new costs – from economic to social to political. For citizens, the burden has been increasingly unbearable; for governments, the pressures are unsustainable. The volatility of international markets is intensified due to heightened tensions and ongoing military conflict.”
Bilawal stressed that urgent measures were required to contain and reverse these adverse trends.
“The world community must join hands to find collective solutions, particularly those that work for the most gravely impacted nations. They have limited financial capacity and require greater international support, solidarity and cooperation.” He said, “the most obvious challenge is evident in the realm of geo-politics. Today, the global environment is in tremendous flux, the international system distinctly fragile and adrift.”
“Great power rivalries have accentuated; bloc politics seems to be returning; new groupings and small configurations are emerging – with potential military dimensions in certain instances.” Confrontation will not serve anyone’s interest, he opined and said it will only result in disruption, destabilization and potential conflict and the consequences of such an eventuality would be grave – not just for the protagonists, but for everyone.
“At this defining moment, it is indispensable to avoid unilateral and provocative actions and to proceed with the utmost caution and prudence. Pakistan believes that a recommitment to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and to effective multilateralism is imperative. Equally imperative is the need to have a coherent vision of a world order based on peaceful coexistence, pacific settlement of disputes, win-win cooperation, and shared prosperity.”
He expressed concern at the continuation of the Ukrainian conflict and said it reflected the failure of diplomacy. “Cessation of hostilities, continued focus on humanitarian needs, and resumption of sustained dialogue, are essential. However, challenging, the quest for a diplomatic solution in accordance with relevant multilateral agreements, international law, and the provisions of the UN Charter, must continue apace.”
The minister said a peaceful, stable, prosperous and connected Afghanistan was critical for our region.
“Pakistan has emphasized the importance of inclusivity in governance and respect for the human rights of all Afghans, especially women and girls. There is also a shared expectation that Afghanistan’s soil will not be allowed to be used for terrorism against any country.” He emphasized that in order to address the economic and humanitarian challenges, Pakistan had called for de-freezing of Afghanistan’s financial assets and de-linking humanitarian assistance from political considerations.
“Pakistan stands ready to work with ARF partners to strengthen this forum and to develop its linkages with other international platforms for confidence building and conflict prevention. Our aspiration for a Full Dialogue Partnership is a sign of our continued commitment to relations with ASEAN.” The minister said Pakistan will remain a strong partner in all endeavors for peace, stability and development of our region and beyond.
President phones families of army officers martyred in chopper crash
ISLAMABAD, August 6, 2022 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday telephoned the grieved families of the Pakistan Army officer who were martyred in a helicopter crash that took place recently in Baluchistan. The president talked to Captain Ahmed Ali, son of Lt. General Sarfraz Ali Shaheed expressed his condolences to the family.
Admiring him as an upright brave efficient officer and a leader whom he had met frequently, the president said that it was due to these sacrifices that Pakistan stood strong today. The president talked to Saad, the young son of Brigadier Khalid Shaheed and conveyed his condolences.
He asked him to thank his mother, grandmother and family for the ultimate sacrifice his brave father had given. “Of course, such incidents bring tears to our eyes and pride in brave sons of Pakistan,” he remarked. President Alvi called Major Asad, brother of Brigadier (Major General to be) Amjad Hanif Shaheed and expressed his condolences to the family. President said he was proud of the “brigadier sahab” and prayed for strength to his family.
He also called and condoled the death of young Naik Mudassar Fayyaz Shaheed who was only 30. His family was proud of Shahadat and invariably like all Shuhada families said that others were ready. The president said that the very sense of sacrifice was unique feature in Pakistan and had kept safe. Talking to the father of Co-pilot Major Talha Mannan Shaheed, the father of two very young sons, the president conveyed his prayers for them and rest of the family.
He said the institution of Armed Forces took good care of Shuhada families. Loss is however painful. They will grow up to be proud of their father Inshallah,” he hoped. President Alvi called Squadron Leader Ameer Ali, brother of Major Saeed Ahmed Shaheed, an outstanding pilot with an excellent career in service. The president said the nation was proud of him and his call was meant to appreciate and admire the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He also prayed for strength to the bereaved family.
Meanwhile, in a series of tweets, the president also rejected the “unnecessary controversy” on why he did not attend the funeral prayer of the those martyred in the chopper crash. “This gives me an opportunity to condemn in unequivocal terms the despicable tweets by those who are neither aware of our culture or our religion,” the president remarked. Referring to the Quranic teachings the president questioned as how could one desecrate the memory and the sacrifice of those whom Allah had given eternal life.
Like all Pakistanis, the president said he had admired the Shuhuda all of his life. President Alvi said that he had called hundreds of families, attended funeral prayers and visited them to offer his condolences. “On your behalf I consider it my duty to do so. The families have been proud, but we all recognize the sad and personal loss in this world,” he added.
The president said that it was especially difficult to condole with families where young children were the survivors. “When the family members have cried, I have cried. There is no doubt in my mind that Pakistan is safe only because of their ultimate sacrifices. That is what makes me proud of Pakistan,” the president commented.
PM denounces killing of Palestinians, terms Israeli act as terrorism, barbarism
ISLAMABAD, Aug 6, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Saturday said that Pakistan strongly condemned Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in which ten Palestinians, including a 5-year-old girl, were martyred.
On his Twitter handle, the prime minister said if impunity and barbarism had a face, it would have been that of Israel, which had targeted Palestinians without any care for the consequences.According to media reports, on Friday, Israel launched missiles throughout the besieged Palestinian city, killing 10 people, including a five-year-old girl and a 23-year-old woman.
Pakistan raises objections on India’s hydroelectric projects on Western rivers
ISLAMABAD, May 31, 2022 (APP): As 118th meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) was held in New Delhi from 30-31 May, 2022, Pakistan highlighted its objections on India’s hydroelectric projects on the Western rivers. Under the relevant provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) 1960, the meeting takes place alternatively in Pakistan and India annually.
The 6-member Pakistani delegation was led by Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters, Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, while the Indian delegation was headed by the Indian Commissioner for Indus Waters A K Pal, a press release issued here by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday said.
A wide range of water-related issues between Pakistan and India were discussed which included the advance sharing of flood information, the program of tours/ inspections and signing of the report of the Permanent Indus Commission for the year ending March 31, 2022. Response to Pakistan’s objections on Indian projects including Pakal Dul was also sought.
The Indian side was also urged to communicate advance flood-flow information as per the provisions of the Treaty and the practice in vogue since 1989 until 2018. Indian side assured to arrange tours/inspections after the coming flood season.
Indian side also assured that Pakistan’s outstanding objections would be discussed in the next meeting as the Indian side was still in the process of examining the details. Both sides reiterated their commitment to implement the Indus Waters Treaty in its true spirit and expressed the hope that the next meeting of the Commission would be held at an early date in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s progress linked with Constitution’s supremacy, rule of law: PM
ISLAMABAD, May 26, 2022 (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the progress of Pakistan was linked with the supremacy of the Constitution and ensuring the rule of law. The prime minister expressed these views in an interaction with the personnel of law enforcement agencies, who were deployed in the Red Zone to ensure law and order during the long march of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
PM Sharif lauded the personnel of Rangers, Islamabad Police, and the capital’s Traffic Police for rendering their duties professionally and protecting the lives and property of the people. The prime minister appreciated the dedication of the law enforcement personnel to performing their official duties regardless of their political affiliation.
He lauded Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Defence Minister Khwaja Asif for dealing with the challenge effectively. The prime minister emphasized unity among all the ranks of the nation to eliminate the scourge of anarchy and chaos. He stressed everyone to demonstrate the spirit of sacrifice and patriotism to make the homeland a citadel of peace.
Rapid development in IT, science vital for Pakistan’s progress: President
ISLAMABAD, May 18, 2022 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said rapid development in the fields of information technology and science was vital for the progress of Pakistan and urged the youth to contribute by excelling in contemporary fields of knowledge.
He was addressing the National Youth Convention 2022 here at the Jinnah Convention Centre, which was organized by Pakistan Institute for Conflict Studies (PICS) and attended by former Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal (retd) Sohail Aman, Director General PICS Major General (retd) Saad Khattak and a large number of students and youth leaders.
Besides education, President Alvi also emphasized the importance of character-building and called upon the youth to adopt high morals in their lives by standing firm against dishonesty and corruption. He stressed that the intellectual and financial corruption had immensely damaged Pakistan and called upon the youth to stay clear from it.
The president said to transform Pakistan in line with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Muhamamd Iqbal, the contribution of youth through intellectual development was important. He said Pakistan’s nuclear capability was a matter of pride for the Islamic world and recalled that the country had become a nuclear power within a short span of seven years in response to the atomic explosions by India in 1974.
He said the country’s nuclear deterrence not only kept the enemy at bay, but also made its defence stronger. President Alvi said Pakistan always emerged morally strong in the comity of nations by hosting four million Afghan refugees at its soil for over 40 decades. On the other hand, he said, the world was demonstrating hypocrisy by denying assistance to migrants.
He said the Pakistani nation always exhibited resilience during tough times, may it be braving the challenges of terrorism or the dealing with natural disasters including the 2005 massive earthquake. He mentioned that the armed forces rendered immense sacrifices for the solidarity of the country and helped eradicating the menace of terrorism and extremism.
The president highlighted the plight of Muslims and other minorities in India and also in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir where the government was denying basic human rights to the people. On fake news, Dr Alvi said adhering to the principles based on truth could discourage the scourge, which was casting a negative impact on the society.
He encouraged the youngsters to explore the world of in-depth knowledge by adopting the habit of book-reading and practice effective communication to convey their message in the correct context. Former Air Chief Sohail Aman said youth could greatly contribute towards the development of their motherland by working efficiently and with dedication.
He asked the youth to honour Pakistan as their identity and attain modern education and skills to deal with emerging challenges. Director General PICS Major General (retd) Saad Khattak said working since 2018, the institute was inculcating in youth the passion to make the future of Pakistan bright and glorious.
National Assembly passes resolution urging India to reverse illegal actions of August 5, 2019
ISLAMABAD, May 12, 2022 (APP):The National Assembly on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution calling upon the international community to ensure accountability of India’s grave and persistent violations of human rights, war crimes being committed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK).
The resolution was moved by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that urged India to immediately halt and reverse unilateral and all illegal actions it had taken in IIOJK and fulfill its obligations under the relevant UNSC resolutions.
The House recalled the resolution of 6 August 2019 adopted unanimously by the Parliament of Pakistan and subsequent resolutions rejecting India’s illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive actions aimed at altering the internationally recognized disputed status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). Alarming situation in IIOJK is arising out of continued Indian occupation in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions.
The House expressed grave concern over the series of illegal measures that the Indian occupation forces had been taking to change the demographic composition of the occupied territories in stark violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention and the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
It denounced the latest attempt at demographic engineering in IIOJK through a so-called ‘Delimitation Commission’ constituted in March 2020 in the occupied territory aimed at artificially altering the electoral strength of the Muslim majority in IIOJK. Noting that the Commission’s recommendations had been rejected by a cross section of political parties in IIOJK, the House reaffirmed Pakistan’s complete support and solidarity with the Kashmiri people.
It rejected categorically the report of the so-called ‘Delimitation Commission’ that sought converting the Muslim majority of IIOJK into minority, and further marginalize, disenfranchise and disempower the Kashmiri population in IIOJK, and advance the political and electoral objectives of the BJP.
The House expressed grave concern that through the ‘delimitation’ exercise, India was making attempts to further its illegal actions of 5 August 2019 and subsequent measures all of which had been categorically rejected by Pakistan and the Kashmiri people. The National Assembly recalled and reaffirmed that “the Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute and a long-standing item on the agenda of the UN Security Council.”
It declared that no facade of ‘elections’ based on a sham ‘delimitation’ exercise could substitute the legitimacy and indispensability of a free and impartial plebiscite held under the auspices of the United Nations to enable the Kashmiri people exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions.
It demanded that India must honor and fulfill its obligations under the international law, UNSC Resolutions and the Fourth Geneva Convention to refrain from bringing about any illegal demographic changes in the occupied territory.
The House urged the Indian Government “to forthwith end its oppression and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in IIOJK, and enable the Kashmiri people to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions.”
The resolution reiterated the unflinching commitment and solidarity of Pakistan and the Pakistani people with Kashmiri brothers and sisters and reaffirmed that Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support in their just struggle for freedom and self-determination. The House asked the coalition government to continue exposing and countering the Indian moves before the international community, and to highlight and forcefully project the Kashmir cause at all bilateral and multilateral fora including the United Nations and the OIC.
Earlier, the foreign minister in a policy statement in the house, said the whole exercise of delimitation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir is illegal and in contravention of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The Minister said that he has also addressed a letter to the President of the UN Security Council and the Secretary General of the UN in which he has highlighted the unlawful steps taken by India to change the demographic structure of IIOJK.
He said that he, in his letter, has also underlined that the delimitation exercise was designed to further marginalize the Kashmiri people and pave the way for another puppet government in the occupied territory. Bilawal Bhutto said Pakistan will continue to reach out to the world to raise international awareness about Indian illegal steps in IIOJK.
Pakistan condemns terrorist attack in Egypt: FO Spokesperson
ISLAMABAD, May 8, 2022 (APP):Pakistan Sunday condemned the heinous terrorist attack in Sinai, Egypt which resulted in the death of 11 security personnel. According to Foreign Office Spokesperson, the Government and people of Pakistan extend deepest condolences to the bereaved families. “We pray for the early recovery of those injured in the attack.”
“Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We also reaffirm our solidarity with the brotherly people of Egypt,” he said.
PM underlines significance of public welfare projects
LAHORE, May 8 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Sunday stressed that national interests should be given priority while executing the public welfare projects including hospitals to serve the masses.
He was addressing an inauguration ceremony of Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital. The six-storey, 350-bed hospital is equipped with the latest state-of-the-art treatment facilities. The prime minister praised the owners of the Trust and expressed the hope that the hospital would serve the ailing humanity with world-class treatment facilities.
He said the managers of the Trust would not only earn the prayers of the patients, but also earn blessings in the world hereafter.The prime minister expressed the confidence that the experienced hands in the hospital would run the facility efficiently.
The prime minister said they had set up PKLI hospital in Lahore on this model to serve the masses with latest treatment facilities and wanted it to function like John Hopkins health facility. Hepatitis filter centers across Punjab province were set up under its patronage and patients from all over the country came for treatment, he added.
He regretted that dirty politics were played during the rule of the last government. The PML-N government was changed and what happened during the last four years was a painful story, he said, adding that the national wealth belonged to the people.
The prime minister referring to the economic constraints said that the government was hardly meeting its expenses.He said 1122 was an initiative of Pervaiz Elhai but he had expanded it throughout the province.The prime minister urged the philanthropists to come forward and execute such public welfare projects across the country.
Earlier, Chairman Trust Shehzad Saleem gave an overview of the project.The prime minister visited different sections of the hospital and was briefed about the provision of treatment facilities including oncology, cardiology and OPD.
Pervaiz Ashraf, Zahid Durrani exchange Eid greetings
ISLAMABAD, May 4 (APP):Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani on Wednesday exchanged Eid greetings and expressed their resolve to restore peoples' confidence in the parliament.
They said we should take special care of the deserving people on occasion of Eid. In a telephonic conversation, the Speaker said that all public issues would be debated in the parliament, said a press release. They said that Allah Almighty has given them an opportunity to raise the prestige of Parliament for the development of the country.
Pakistan, UAE reaffirm economic & trade ties
ABU DHABI: Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have reaffirmed their resolve to further boost bilateral trade and economic relations. The understanding was reached during a meeting the other day between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
In the meeting with the UAE dignitary, PM Shehbaz Sharif held extensive consultations over the prospects of propelling cooperation and a range of bilateral, regional and international issues. PM Shehbaz Sharif was warmly welcomed by the UAE crown prince ahead of their meeting at the royal palace, Qasr-e Al-Shatie.
During the meeting, the crown prince congratulated PM Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the premier of Pakistan and wished him great success serving the post. He also extended best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.
The prime minister paid tributes to the founder and first president of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may Allah bless his soul) for his foresight and visionary leadership and his contribution to laying the foundation of Pakistan-UAE friendship. He expressed Pakistan's determination to strengthen mutually beneficial ties under the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Noting the first 50 years of fast-track and remarkable development of the UAE, PM Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the UAE leadership and people and wished them more success in the decades ahead. He also felicitated the UAE leadership and Expo Team on successful holding of the Dubai World Expo 2020, widely acclaimed as a resounding success.
Moreover, the prime minister expressed gratitude to the UAE for its long-standing support to Pakistan both bilaterally and multilaterally.He, in particular, mentioned the humanitarian projects launched under the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Program in Pakistan as well as crucial support extended by the UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also thanked the UAE for hosting 1.7 million Pakistanis with honour and dignity who are not only a bridge between Pakistan and the UAE but also pride of Pakistan.
Highlighting the noble initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to eradicate polio worldwide, the PM Shehbaz Sharif lauded UAE's pivotal role in supporting global efforts to end this menace.
Reviewing bilateral cooperation in various fields, the two leaders resolved to further strengthen trade and economic ties, with particular focus on accelerating cooperation and building partnerships in areas encompassing, investments, economic development, energy, infrastructure and agriculture.
The crown prince assured PM Shehbaz Sharif about making effective moves towards strengthening closer bilateral fraternal ties for the benefit of future generations of the two countries. He acknowledged with gratitude the constructive role played by Pakistanis in the development of the UAE when others had limited presence and contribution.
Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that Pakistan and the UAE stood with each other during good or bad times and would continue to extend support to each other in the future. He emphasised the importance of strengthening bridges between the two brotherly nations for the well-being of their people.
The two leaders also discussed issues of regional and international importance. They decided to remain in regular contact on all issues of mutual interest as well as coordinate positions at multilateral forums including the UN and the OIC.