ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday said that Pakistan always advocated dialogue and use of diplomacy as tools for pursuit of peace in the world.
Addressing a joint presser along with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister referred to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and said Pakistan had a firm position that it should not be dragged into any conflict.
Pakistan is a small and developing country, but it always advocated that international laws should be adhered to, he said, adding that all world conflicts should be resolved through peaceful means.
Replying to a question, Bilawal maintained that humanitarian crises in Ukraine could not be ignored and stressed that Pakistan would continue to advocate for dialogue and diplomacy as means in the pursuit of peace.
The foreign minister said Pakistan always emphasised upon the adherence of UN principles and its charters and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries. Bilawal observed that ramifications of conflict in the EU in the shape of Russia-Ukraine conflict were also felt in Pakistan in the shape of increasing prices of fuel and food. He reiterated that Pakistan called upon immediate cessation of hostilities and immediate initiation of peaceful dialogue.
He said considering the plight of people in Ukraine, Pakistan had dispatched four planeloads of humanitarian aid. The foreign minister said Pakistan remained concerned about the well-being of the Ukrainian people, civilian casualties and massive exodus of refugees.
The foreign minister said Pakistan wanted to engage with all its neighbours. Pakistan played an important role in establishing diplomatic ties between China and the US and it would continue to play the role of bridge, he added.
About the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) issue, he said that he had been vociferously raising the Indian atrocities issue during his engagements at the global fora and in his meetings with his counterparts of various countries, including the US secretary of state.
The foreign minister warned that the situation in IIOJK had been fast deteriorating due to provocative steps of India that was trying to undermine the Muslim majority by marginalising and turning it into minority through illegal steps.
The foreign minister said the international community must immediately take noticeof the increasing incidents of persecution of minorities and rising tide of Islamophobia in India.
Bilawal, citing the recent provocative and sacrilegious statements by the BJP leaders, said that such outrageous and highly-condemnable statements had hurt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world. He said it was a proof that India had turned into a fascist country and it was no longer a secular India, but dominated by Hindutva ideology.
The foreign minister said Pakistan wanted peace with India, but it required a rational approach from the other side, adding with such irrational steps by India, the space for peace was being squeezed.
The foreign minister reiterated The peace in South Asia is contingent upon peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue." He said that Pakistan and Germany enjoyed a close and long standing cordial cooperation based upon mutual respect and driven by bilateral ties and shared interests. He said both the countries were also close partners in the European Union context.
Bilawal said Germany had been Pakistan s largest trading partner in the EU context and its fifth world export destination. Last year, he said Pakistan's exports to Germany stood at around $2.5 billion while German imports remained at $1.3 billion. Germany was also the seventh largest direct investor in Pakistan.
The foreign minister said Pakistan always emphasized upon and supported a peaceful and stable Afghanistan contributing to the regional progress and development and connectivity. He stressed upon the international community to focus on the humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people who had been facing financial crises.
A UN report had indicated that about 97 per cent of Afghan population had been pushed below the poverty line and faced immediate danger of hunger and starvation. At the same time, the foreign minister stressed that the Afghan government must come up to the expectations of the international community with regard to upholding of human and women’s rights and take effective steps against terrorism. He urged the international community to actively engage with the Afghan government to avoid humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, adding release of its foreign assets would help its sagging economy.
The foreign minister also enumerated Pakistan’s efforts for the safe evacuation of foreigners in the earlier phases after the Taliban took control of the country. Foreign Minister Bilawal said Pakistan had faced the brunt of terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan and it was in the world’s interest to ensure peace in Afghanistan, so that no terrorist activities could take place in that country. He said it was important for the international community to engage with the new rulers of Afghanistan.
The foreign minister said Pakistan had been a victim of terrorism from the groups operating in Afghanistan, adding they were concerned about the consequences of the humanitarian crises unfolding on their borders.
He called upon the international community to help avoid a total economic collapse in Afghanistan. The foreign minister said Pakistan faced economic constraints in helping the Afghan refugees, still it was playing a very responsible role on the world stage.
About Pakistan’s diplomatic priorities, he said they had focused on strengthening of economic relations by resetting of ties with different countries, adding Pakistan was keen that its GSP plus status should be extended so that its businesses and economy could take benefits.
Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said during her meeting with FM Bilawal, they had discussed at length the issue of Afghanistan where the situation had forced millions to leave the country.
Lauding Pakistan’s role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, she said Pakistan had shown a big heart to provide shelter and support to Afghan refugees. The German foreign minister said it was an enormous task and reiterated her government s solidarity and support to Pakistan.
Germany remained committed to continuing its support to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, she said, urging the international partners to play their part in supporting efforts for education and health sectors.
She also expressed Germany’s concerns over Taliban treatment of women and people and said that Afghan s economy had come to a grinding halt.
Annalena Baerbock said that Taliban government had been heading in the wrong direction still she reiterated that they would not abandon the people of Afghanistan and would continue to provide support.
About ties with Pakistan, she said that both countries had been the closest and reliable partner, adding both countries achieved when they worked together by further strengthening the bilateral relations.
The German foreign minister said Germany and Pakistan had prioritize their efforts to combat climate crises as the time for the world community was running out, requiring immediate global action.
She said both the countries excellent ties and there existed immense opportunities for trade and investment and energy sectors. To a question regarding Kashmir, she said they supported resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the UN resolutions.
She said they believed that a constructive approach and confidence building measures between Pakistan and India were key to improvement of the ties and solution of the issue.
About Russian-Ukraine conflict, the foreign minister observed the world was pushed into danger when the law of strongest was applied.
The German foreign minister said that issues like Islamophobia had been linked with the regional and international peace and security. She maintained that German always insisted upon implementation of UNSC principles and charters.
About Russian-Ukraine conflict, she said the crises had consequences beyond borders. The Russian-Ukraine conflict had sent the food prices skyrocketed, especially of the wheat. She termed it as the biggest threat and challenge to the humanity in the 21st century and stressed upon the international community to work together and support each other.
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