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Tuesday June 25, 2024

Bin Laden dead, but ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ still alive: Bilawal

FM Bilawal urged the international community to help Pakistan combat and go after those who backed, supported, financed and facilitated terrorism in Pakistan

By AFP & APP
December 16, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File
 Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File 

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday urged the international community to help Pakistan combat and go after those who backed, supported, financed and facilitated terrorism in Pakistan.

The foreign minister, in a press briefing, after he hosted the Ministerial Conference of G-77 Plus China here, apprised the media of a dossier issued by Pakistan containing pieces of evidence of Indian involvement in Johar Town bombing in 2021.

He said Pakistan had also sought the United Nations to list four individuals associated with the attack which was aimed at targeting Pakistan’s economic engagement with China under the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative.

He said a former Indian national security advisor was also on record to have confessed the Indian backing of terrorism in Pakistan.

Calling upon the Indian government to end such tactics, the foreign minister said the terrorists would not be content to attack only Pakistan rather one day they would hit India too.

To a question, he said, “Osama Bin Laden is dead but the Butcher of Gujarat and the prime minister of India is alive. The prime minister and foreign minister are of RSS which derives inspiration from Hitler.”

He said the RSS did not believe in the ideology of Gandhi but instead treated his killer as a hero.

“We should finally work together to put an end to this longstanding point of irritation between the two countries… Let us look to the future and ensure to going forward,” he remarked.

Regarding the UNSC’s meeting on counter-terrorism, he said it could have been more “inclusive and transparent” if it was held as an open debate allowing all countries, particularly like Pakistan to share its experiences and strategy to defeat terrorism.

He said Pakistan was proud to have fulfilled two action plans of the FATF simultaneously and owing to the very achievement, Pakistan aspired to become the FATF member to share its experiences with other countries.

He called for the world to move away from the Islamophobic narrative and framing of terrorism as terrorism knew no religion or boundaries.

He said instead of knowing Muslims as a victim of terrorism, they were defined by those who carried out the attacks because the perpetrators were Muslims. He said as per statistics, more Muslims were killed in terrorist attacks from 2001 to 2022.

About the flood-caused devastation in Pakistan, the foreign minister told the media that many parts of Sindh and Balochistan were yet under water.

He said the flood-hit areas were faced with climate, health and education emergency with malaria spreading and 47% of schools infrastructure partly or completely damaged.

He thanked the UN Secretary-General, who would co-host a conference in Geneva on January 9, for building climate resilience of Pakistan.

Regarding an attack on Pakistan’s head of Mission in Kabul, he said the country had raised security concerns with the Afghan government which had also assured to apprehend the culprits.

He said the envoy was in Pakistan for consultations and would be back to his office once the security concerns were addressed.

Meanwhile, speaking on “Reformed Multilateralism” in the Security Council, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stressed upon the United Nations Security Council to implement its resolutions on the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) issue and deliver upon its commitment to peace in the region and “prove that multilateralism can succeed”.

The foreign minister said there was an agenda item left unaddressed by the UNSC — the issue of IIOJ&K.

“We believe it a multinational agenda — an agenda of this UNSC — and if you want to see the success of the multilateral institution or multilateralism and the success of this very Council, surely you can aid in this process; allow the implementation of the resolutions of the UNSC, when it comes to the question of Kashmir, prove the multilateralism can succeed, prove that the UNSC can succeed and deliver peace in the region,” he added.

He said that Pakistan believed that further democratisation of UN, UNSC and General Assembly would empower this institution and provide it with the moral authority to act. “It would serve the institution to further democratise and to allow the sovereign quality of all and not the superiority of some.”

“It does not serve the purposes of the UN to add more members to its elitist club and to expand the tyrannical power of veto,” he said.

The foreign minister said the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Multilateral solutions, under the umbrella of the Security Council, offer the most effective approach to promoting peace and resolving conflicts, he added.

“Parties to a dispute cannot advocate multilateral processes one day and insist on “bilateral” avenues the day after. Pakistan firmly believes that the major security problems, including those in our region, can be effectively and peacefully resolved through the active involvement of the Security Council and the secretary-general,” he added.

Pakistan’s foreign minister further said that “multilateralism” must be based on universal and consistent adherence to the fundamental principles of the UN Charter — self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of force, non-acquisition of territory by the use of force, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in their internal affairs.

Strict adherence to the charter’s principles has become all the more essential in the context of recent and ongoing conflicts.

The council must seek to resolve conflicts and disputes, not merely “manage” them, he said. It should address the underlying causes of conflict, such as foreign occupation and suppression of the recognised right of peoples of self-determination, he said.

And, in accordance with their obligation under Article 25 of the charter, the member states must implement the decisions of the Security Council, he noted.

The Security Council, the foreign minister said, must act, not only after a conflict has erupted. It must act pre-emptively to prevent and avert conflicts before they occur.

The Security Council should, he said, no doubt, reflect “contemporary global realities”.

The most significant change in global realities is the emergence of a UN membership now composed by 193 mostly small and medium-sized states, Bilawal added.

The foreign minister underlined that they needed to be equitably represented through the expansion of the Security Council.

Adding new “permanent members” would numerically reduce the opportunities for the vast majority of UN member states to be represented on the Security Council, he said, adding, “We must adhere to the principle of sovereign equality of all-not the superiority of some.”

In the past, the Security Council has been unable to act due to differences among its permanent members and adding new permanent members would multiply the possibility of paralysis in the Security Council, the foreign minister pointed out.

“The problem cannot be the solution. And, surely, states that have a record of not implementing the resolutions of the Security Council cannot be considered as worthy of consideration for any form of Council membership,” he added.

He said that multilateralism offers many benefits. The benefits of multilateralism were very evident, he said.

Foreign Minister Bilawal further said that in this complex world, confronted by multiple threats and challenges, inclusive multilateral processes, within the framework of the United Nations, offered the most promising prospect for promoting peace and security, economic and social development and effective responses to the several interlocking global challenges.

He said that it was therefore vital to empower and efficiently utilize all the main organs of the United Nations: the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice and the Secretary-General and Secretariat of the United Nations.

“We must also induct equality and democracy in the structures of global financial and economic governance, especially the Bretton Woods institutions. The UN General Assembly — the most universal global forum — must play the central role in reinforcing multilateralism and enhancing equity and justice in international relations,” he stressed.

The world’s attention should also be redirected away from narrow, national ambitions, Bilawal said. Instead, the world should address collectively and multilaterally, first and foremost, the existential threats that they face as a race — whether it be the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, the nuclear threat, or terrorism, he asserted.

Meanwhile, in an interview with an American television news program ‘PBS Newshour’ in New York, Bilawal said with increased engagement on both sides, the relations between Pakistan and the US were heading in a positive direction, as both countries were building a more broad-based partnership.

“I absolutely believe we are now heading in a positive direction, with increased engagement on both sides,” he said.

He said both countries were finding areas in which they agreed on to work together and were cooperating on climate, health, business and economic opportunities, particularly for women.

“So, there’s a whole host of areas in which Pakistan and the US

are cooperating. I think this is all a healthy sign, given, in the past, our cooperation was very narrow and specific within the context of the war on terror. We’re now building a more broad-based partnership,” he remarked.

He said it was “absolutely possible” for Pakistan to engage with both China and the US.

As far as Russia is concerned, he said, “We aren’t pursuing or receiving any discounted energy, but we are facing an extremely difficult economic situation, inflation, pump prices. But we do have energy insecurity.”

He said Pakistan was exploring various avenues to expand its areas where it could get energy from, and any energy that it received from Russia would take a long time to develop.

Asked whether Imran Khan would win if the early elections were held, the foreign minister said, “He wouldn’t win. His removal through a no-confidence motion was a cornerstone in Pakistan’s democratic development, as every other prime minister was either removed through a military coup or the orders of a Supreme Court. This is the first time through a democratic constitutional procedure a prime minister was removed from Parliament.”

Meanwhile, in his opening remarks as the host of G-77 and China Ministerial Conference, Bilawal urged the body to induct equity in international economic relations and restore the developing economies on a path leading to realization of the SDGs and environmental objectives.

The ministerial meeting is being held with an aim to agree on the “urgent and emergency measures required to enable the developing countries to overcome the immediate challenges of food, fuel and finance which they confront at present; and systemic measures and structural changes needed to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.”

The foreign minister emphasised that the developing countries which continued to suffer from the severe impacts of climate change must be assisted, urgently and generously, to recover from these impacts, “even as we start work on operationalizing the loss and damage fund agreed at CoP-27.”

“Without such emergency and systemic actions, the development divide will grow into an unbridgeable gulf, transforming our world into a nightmare, a world afflicted by massive human suffering, social and political instability, and proliferating conflicts, even as our planet and our species confront the mounting existential threat of a climate catastrophe.” He said as the majority of developing countries faced unprecedented challenges to their economic progress as well as the danger of social and political turmoil, over the past three years, their economies and societies had been ravaged by a series of crises: the Covid-19 pandemic; supply chain disruptions; spiraling prices; depreciating currencies; climate-induced disasters and geopolitical tensions like the Ukraine war.