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UNGA adopts Pak-led motion on inter-religious talks

By News Desk
December 04, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines on the “Promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue” by an overwhelming majority.

According to a Foreign Office statement issued on Thursday, the resolution is part of Pakistan’s global efforts to promote interfaith harmony, tolerance, respect for each other’s religions and values, and peaceful co-existence.

The resolution welcomes the Kartarpur initiative by Pakistan, referring to it as a “landmark initiative for inter-religious and inter-cultural cooperation for peace”. Due to the efforts of Pakistan’s delegation, the resolution for the first time this year also acknowledges the significance and respect for religious symbols. It stresses that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, and must therefore be subjected to legitimate restrictions.

In the wake of growing religious intolerance and racism especially Islamophobia around the world, this resolution is important for mainstreaming these contemporary challenges and taking the necessary steps to curb such trends. The resolution focuses on inter-religious and cultural dialogues amongst all stakeholders and advocates combating intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination and acts of violence. It supports the call of the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilisations for “mutual respect”. It emphasises the importance of realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, especially the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly called upon the international community to counter Islamophobia and promote respect for religious sensitivities, the statement added. “The adoption of this resolution by the UN General Assembly is part of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts inter alia for raising awareness about Islamophobia and countering the defamation of sacred religious personalities and symbols.”