Pakistan will continue to take lead in raising global awareness about the insidious phenomena of Islamophobia and xenophobia and fostering inter-faith dialogue, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Pakistan will continue to take lead in raising global awareness about the insidious phenomena of Islamophobia and xenophobia and fostering inter-faith dialogue, harmony and peaceful coexistence.
Pakistan will continue to take lead in raising global awareness about the insidious phenomena of Islamophobia and xenophobia and fostering inter-faith dialogue, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Assalam-o-Alaikum,

Welcome to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last week, we had two important incoming visits.

Foreign Minister of the Swiss Confederation, Federal Councillor Mr. Ignazio Cassis visited Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister of Pakistan Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif, from 7th to 9th of July. He called on the Prime Minister and held meetings with Minister for Climate Change, Senator Sherry Rehman, and Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation particularly in the areas of climate change, trade and investment, development cooperation, higher education, and vocational training. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in disaster management was signed that aims to reduce the adverse impact of natural disasters on people and the economy.

UAE’s Special Envoy for Climate Change and the President-designate of COP 28, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber visited Pakistan on 6th of July 2023. He called on the Prime Minister and met with the Minister for Climate Change. The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation especially in energy and climate change; mitigation of global climate challenges; operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund created at COP 27; and cooperation at COP28, where Pakistan will extend full support to the UAE as the hosts and chair of COP 28. An MOU outlining a roadmap for investment in renewable energy projects in Pakistan was also signed.

Earlier this week at the request of Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC Group in Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council held an urgent debate to discuss the alarming rise in premeditated and public acts of religious hatred. The debate took place in context of the recurrent acts of desecration of the Holy Quran, which have hurt sentiments of Muslims worldwide.

Addressing the Council virtually, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly condemned these premeditated acts of the desecration of the Holy Quran and underscored that such Islamophobic acts were an attack on the faith of Muslims around the world. The Foreign Minister stressed the need to isolate those who stoked religious hatred, and for prevention, legal deterrence and accountability of such acts.

Following the urgent debate, the Council adopted a historic resolution presented by Pakistan, on behalf of the OIC. The resolution condemns any advocacy of religious hatred, including the recent acts of desecration of the Holy Quran, and underscores the need for holding the perpetrators to account. In follow-up to the resolution, the Council will hold panel discussions of experts at its March 2024 session to identify the drivers, root-causes and human rights impact of the desecration of sacred books, places of worship and religious symbols.

Pakistan shares the disappointment of other OIC countries that despite its balanced and apolitical nature, this important resolution was put to a vote on fallacious grounds, derailing the Council’s consensus. We believe that the Council must speak with one voice on the salient issue of Islamophobia, which affects human rights, fundamental freedoms, dignity and identity of over 2 billion Muslims.

Pakistan will continue to take lead in raising global awareness about the insidious phenomena of Islamophobia and xenophobia and fostering inter-faith dialogue, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

Foreign Secretary, Dr. Asad Majeed Khan, is in Jakarta, Indonesia to attend the 30th Ministerial Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Foreign Secretary has a packed programme in Jakarta. He has held meetings with his counterpart from Thailand and the Deputy SG of ASEAN. He will call on the President and meet with Foreign Minister and the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs of Indonesia. Foreign Secretary is also expected to meet with the Foreign Ministers of Vietnam and Timor-Leste and the Foreign Secretaries of Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

At the ARF Ministerial meeting tomorrow, the Foreign Secretary will highlight Pakistan’s perspective on political and security issues of concern to Asia-Pacific. He will outline our desire for regional cooperation and dialogue in promoting common solutions and for extended partnerships with ARF and with countries in the region.

The 12th (Special) meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was held on 11 July 2023 in Beijing. Federal Minister for Planning, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal & Vice Chairman, National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, Cong Liang co-chaired the meeting.

The JCC reviewed the progress made under the Joint Working Groups on Energy, Transport Infrastructure, and Gwadar Port and their future plans of action. It highlighted the significance of the key projects for energy and infrastructure development and agreed to strengthen cooperation for smooth development of future renewable energy projects. The two sides will continue to promote major transport infrastructure projects including ML-1 and KCR. They will also enhance cooperation in science & technology, and innovation in bolstering high-quality CPEC; and further B2B collaboration for the next phase of industrial cooperation.

On 10 July 2023, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously adopted Pakistan’s report under its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

The unanimous adoption of Pakistan’s report of the Council concludes Pakistan’s 4th UPR review which began earlier this year. You would recall that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, had presented Pakistan’s UPR report in January 2023 at the Council. Pakistan has accepted 253 recommendations made by Member States. This puts Pakistan’s acceptance rate at 70 percent, which demonstrates Pakistan’s constructive engagement with the UPR process.

Previously, Pakistan was reviewed under the UPR process in 2008, 2012 and 2017. Our constructive engagement with the Human Rights Council and the wider UN Human Rights Machinery will continue.

The Pakistani nation is today observing the 92nd Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Martyrs Day) to commemorate the martyrdom of 22 Kashmiris, who sacrificed their lives while braving the brute and indiscriminate firing of Dogra forces in 1931. We salute their valour which kindled a valiant struggle for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination and ignited a freedom movement that continues to this day.

On a pattern similar to the Dogra forces, over the last seventy years, the Indian Occupation Forces have killed hundreds of Kashmiris simply for demanding their rights. Since 5 August 2019, over 780 Kashmiris have been martyred by the Indian Occupation Forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

India’s unabated repression over the past seven decades has failed to break the will of the Kashmiri people who have continued to strive for their right to self-determination.

Pakistan will continue to support its Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their just struggle against Indian oppression, till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination; as enshrined in the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

I will conclude with a brief announcement.

Azerbaijan’s Minister for Digital Development and Transport Rashad Nabiyev will undertake a visit to Pakistan from 17-19 July. This visit is taking place in follow up to Prime Minister’s recent visit to Baku. Minister Nabiyev will meet with Pakistani counterparts in the Ministries of Information Technology, Aviation, Communications, Railways, and Maritime Affairs and explore bilateral cooperation in areas of connectivity and information technology.

I thank you.

By Main Saeed Ahmed Khan