ISLAMABAD, SEPT 12 – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi participated in the 27th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held online today. The meeting was chaired by Vietnam and attended by Foreign Ministers and senior government officials of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
In his video remarks, the Foreign Minister called for a concerted international effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop a vaccine that is accessible to all as a global public good. He also highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s “Global Initiative on Debt Relief” for the developing countries to help create enhanced fiscal capacity to tackle the negative economic consequences of the pandemic.
Foreign Minister Qureshi also apprised the Forum about the progress made by Pakistan in the field of counter-terrorism. Furthermore, he urged the ASEAN Regional Forum members to raise voice against the rise of “Islamophobia” and extremist tendencies in the region and around the globe.
While emphasizing Pakistan’s commitment to inter-faith harmony, the Foreign Minister informed that Pakistan took the milestone step of opening the “Kartarpur Corridor” last year to facilitate Sikh pilgrims from India and elsewhere.
The Foreign Minister condemned moves by states to alter the demographics of disputed territories under their illegal occupation and stressed the importance of peaceful resolution of disputes according to relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The Foreign Minister underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was central to regional peace. Highlighting Pakistan’s positive contributions, he reaffirmed Pakistan’s steadfast support for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. Noting that the U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement of 29 February 2020 represented a significant step forward, the Foreign Minister underlined the importance of an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement through Intra-Afghan Negotiations.
On the issue of South China Sea, the Foreign Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the ongoing negotiations of Code of Conduct and underlined that the concerned parties may find solution through consensus.
The Foreign Minister also announced that Pakistan will be co-hosting the 24th ARF Heads of Defence Universities/Colleges/Institutions Meeting with Malaysia in 2021.