NEW YORK (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has said that durable peace in the region would continue to be elusive unless the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was resolved in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
Addressing a press conference here at the Untied Nations, the minister expressed grave concern over the plight of the people of Jammu and Kashmir under foreign occupation, who had been facing brutal oppression, extrajudicial killings, human rights violations, extended curfews and lockdowns, arbitrary detentions, and illegal demographic displacement. He said after the illegal and unilateral measures of August 5, 2019 to snatch the identity of Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian authorities had been mounting a massive campaign of repression against its people.
The steps were aimed at changing the demography of Muslim majority state to transform it into a Hindu majority territory by eliminating indigenous Muslim population and settling down Hindus from across India in the area, he added. The move, he said, created hurdles in the just resolution of Kashmir dispute. If the situation arisen due to India’s cruel policies in occupied Kashmir were left unattended, it could lead to another conflict in the region with potentially catastrophic consequences, Ahsan warned.
The minister also stressed on the international community to evolve an emergency action plan, including mobilization of financial resources to ramp up food production, keeping supply chains open, assisting poor farmers and building a food bank for the developing countries. He said in order to overcome poverty and hunger, there was a need to address the complex structural and systemic issues impeding the developing countries to become self-sufficient in food production.
Being the G-77 president, he added, Pakistan had proposed to the UN to lead an international effort to provide support to the developing countries to mitigate the effects of supply chain shocks. The minister, who is currently visiting the United States to attend the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) session at the UN, said it was a component of the global effort to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This global effort, he said, had suffered serious setback due to COVID-19, climate change, and conflicts in the last few years.
He said Pakistan was playing an active role to evolve a collective action and response for promoting collective economic interests of the developing countries. “We truly believe that just as SDGs set out as a goal that no one should left behind in any society, no country should be left behind in the world society.” Ahsan said today the world was passing through a major economic crisis and facing record inflation. “Supply chains are disrupted after Ukraine and Russia war creating enormous economic and political challenges for developing countries and particularly for those which are vulnerable.”
He also called for collective action within every country and at global level to face the challenge and crisis to minimize the cost of economic default or political crisis as in the case of Sri Lanka. “We do not want Sri Lanka-like situation to erupt in another developing country. This requires the international community to work together in spirit of multilateralism,” he stressed. The minister also drew the world attention towards the challenge of global food security, saying the issue had been growing progressively in the developing countries due to low productivity, water scarcity, land degradation, lack of agriculture infrastructure, inadequate application of new technologies, and unfair trade practices in climate change.
He said Pakistan was facing challenges in food security, water security and energy security because of the issues ranging from climate change and global development. “Largely due to climate change and insufficient investment in agriculture, Pakistan’s food security situation has become fragile. We will have to import wheat this year whereas the supply chain of wheat at global level is already disrupted,” he added. On the Afghan issue , the minister pointed out that for the first time in 40 years, there was an opportunity to stabilize Afghanistan as the entire country was under the control of one government.
He said Pakistan was a neighboring country and if there was instability in Afghanistan, it would be the first country to pay the price. Like others Pakistan was also disappointed that the Afghan government had not been responsive on issues of concerns, especially to the issues of girls education and recent restrictions on women. “We believe that it is necessary to continue to engage with the Afghan government and persuade them to revise their decisions,” he added.
Ahsan said Pakistan was deeply concerned by the continuation of war in Ukraine. “Pakistan has always called for consistent and universal application of UN chartered principles, including threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes and security for all states in order to ensure lasting peace and security. Pakistan called for early negotiation to end the Ukraine conflict.” With respect to Pakistan’s efforts in mitigating climate change effects, the minister said although Pakistan was among the least carbon emulator, it was one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change and global warming.
“We are making our contribution to mitigating emissions mainly through nature-based solutions such as reforestation and adaptation of cleaner energy,” he said, adding recently the government had started a major initiative for solar and renewable energy in the country. He called for international investments in Pakistan’s major climate adaptation projects to end pollution in cities, rivers and lakes. “Pakistan’s ambitious environment programme deserves generous international support.”
As regards Islamophobia, Ahsan said Pakistan welcomed the UN General Assembly’s recognition of the challenge by deciding to observe 15th March each year as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia. “We need international action plan to combat Islamophobia and other forms of intolerance and hate.”
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