By Aamir Latif
KARACHI, Pakistan(AA): Pakistan on Saturday urged members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to speak out against the rise of Islamophobia and extremist tendencies around the globe.
The call was made by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum, which was held online, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry.
The meeting was chaired by Vietnam and attended by foreign ministers and senior government officials of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
In his remarks, Qureshi called for “concerted” international efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and to develop a vaccine that is accessible to all as a global public good.
Emphasizing Islamabad’s commitment to inter-faith harmony, Qureshi said his country “took the milestone step” of opening the Kartarpur Corridor last year to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India and elsewhere.
Condemning moves by “states” to alter the demographics of disputed territories under their illegal occupation, he stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes according to relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
Underscoring that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was central to regional peace, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s “steadfast” support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
Noting that the US-Taliban Peace Agreement of Feb. 29, 2020 represented a significant step forward, Qureshi underlined the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement through intra-Afghan negotiations.
On the issue of South China Sea, the minister affirmed Pakistan’s support for the ongoing negotiations of Code of Conduct and underlined that the concerned parties may find solution through consensus.
He announced that Pakistan will be co-hosting the 24th ARF Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/Institutions meeting with Malaysia in 2021.
[Image: ASEAN member countries by Astore international/Creative Commons]
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