ISLAMABAD, SEPT 22 – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressed a high-level virtual meeting of the General Assembly,held at the UN Headquarters in New York yesterday (21 September 2020), to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
In his video statement, the Foreign Minister commended the United Nations for its numerous accomplishments over the years to advance the principles and purposes of the Charter. He acknowledged, in particular, the important role played by the organization in facilitating decolonization, addressing the threats of climate change and helping to promote a vision of inclusive and sustainable development through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Foreign Minister stressed that the ‘euphoria’ of the occasion should not ‘un-sight’ the international community from the expectations from the organization, in particular, to resolve longstanding disputes. The Foreign Minister called for the respect of the right to self-determination promised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Palestine by the United Nations. He reminded the world that the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) still await fulfillment of the commitments made to them by the United Nations.
The Foreign Minister cautioned against the growing inability of the international community to join ranks in collectively addressing common challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic, that has not only strengthened forces of unilateralism, fascism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, but has also given rise to fears that the multilateral order itself is under threat. The Foreign Minister urged the international community to defend the immutable principles of the Charter against those who undermine the UN principles or claim privileged status on the basis of ‘size’, ‘strength’ or a ‘misplaced sense of entitlement’.
The Foreign Minister recalled that Pakistan has been on the UN Security Council 7 times, headed ECOSOC 5 times, and has led the UN General Assembly and the G-77. “We are active participants in reform processes, including the reform of the Security Council”, the Foreign Minister added. Highlighting Pakistan’s important role in maintaining international peace and security, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan has contributed over 200,000 troops to 47 Missions in 26 countries, losing 157 of our bravest in the process. He recalled that Pakistan also hosted the largest protracted refugee population.
Reaffirming Pakistan’s abiding commitment to multilateralism, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan would continue to play a leading role in advancing the mutually reinforcing goals of peace and security, development and human rights.He reiterated Pakistan’s firm conviction that there is no alternative for “the UN, its values and its architecture.”
The High-Level meeting adopted a Political Declaration to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations.