Pakistan, China to multiply cooperation: FO

ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan said yesterday it will multiply cooper­ation with China in the years to come.

Speaking at a week­ly news briefing here, Foreign Office spokes­person Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said the visit of Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng was one of the recent highlights.

She said there were also positive and fruit­ful visits by Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz, and Iranian For­eign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

“Vice Premier of the State Council of China, He Lifeng, visited Paki­stan as Special Represen­tative of President Xi Jin­ping in connection with the 10th anniversary of China-Pakistan Econom­ic Corridor (CPEC),” she added. The visit, she said, was an opportunity for the two sides to discuss bilateral relations and explore new horizons of collaboration in trade and investment.

“The two sides reaffirmed their continued commit­ment to CPEC, expressed their firm resolve to build upon the achievements of the last de­cade, and to continue cooper­ation for further developing it as a high-quality demonstrable project of BRI,” she elaborated.

CPEC, Baloch said, had brought huge dividends to Pa­kistan as manifested in the cre­ation of over 200,000 jobs; ad­dition of 8000 MW power to national grid; building of 510 kilometers of highways and 932 kilometers of road net­work; and a 820-kilometer long optical fiber line. “Areas of cooperation under Phase-II of CPEC include rural revital­ization; agricultural develop­ment; industrialization; green development and science and technology. The two countries remain committed to enhance cooperation under CPEC and develop it as a connectivity project for the region,” she said.

She said on July 31, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attended the 18th Extraordi­nary Meeting of the OIC CFM convened to debate the recur­ring incidents of the desecra­tion of the Holy Quran.

“The Foreign Minister con­demned the Islamophobic and hateful acts of desecration of the Holy Quran and under­scored the need for shunning religious hatred and for pro­moting inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence. He reit­erated the call for appointment of a UN Special Envoy to combat Islamophobia,” she said.

Baloch added: “We are pleased with the outcome of the Extraordinary CFM that adopt­ed a comprehensive resolution endorsing the 8-point action plan unanimously agreed upon by UN Human Rights Council to counter incitement to hatred, discrimination, stigmatization and violence based on religion and belief.”

She said Pakistan’s Cricket Team will participate in the ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in India. “Our decision to partici­pate reflects Pakistan’s consis­tent position that sports cannot not be mixed with politics. Paki­stan’s constructive and respon­sible approach contrasts with that of India which has repeat­edly politicized sports by refus­ing to send its Cricket Team to Pakistan for the Asia Cup or de­nying visas for Pakistan’s Blind Cricket Team,” she remarked.

The spokesperson said on Au­gust 5, the Pakistani nation ex­pressed complete solidarity with Kashmiris on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of In­dia’s illegal and unilateral ac­tions of 5 August 2019 in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Since 2019, India has taken a series of measures to alter the demographic makeup of IIOJK, and intensified its suppression of the Kashmiri people, she add­ed. “India has carried out a se­lective delimitation of electoral constituencies, issued fake do­miciles to millions of non-Kash­miris, and added hundreds of thousands of temporary resi­dents to alter the existing voter rolls. These measures are aimed at disenfranchising the people of Kashmir and converting them into a disempowered minority in their own land in gross viola­tion of the Fourth Geneva Con­vention,” the spokesperson said.

She underlined that as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said, Pakistan continues to believe that peace between Pakistan and India was critical for the fu­ture of our peoples and for the prosperity of our region.

“We also believe that dia­logue is important between Pa­kistan and India in an environ­ment which is free of coercion and free of belligerence that In­dia continues to demonstrate in the region. We believe that the ball is in India’s court to create an environment for peace and dialogue,” she said.

To a question, she said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in contact with the Embas­sy of Afghanistan and with the Afghan authorities on a recent terror incident.

“We have shared with them the discovery that we have made with regard to the iden­tity of terrorists who were in­volved in attack on personnel of the Pakistan army in the at­tack in the Zhob garrison in Ba­lochistan. We have reiterated on several occasions that the Af­ghan soil should not be used to foment terrorism against Paki­stan,” the spokesperson said.

To another question, Baloch said Pakistan had always called for peace between the warring parties. “We believe that peace between Ukraine and Russia is key for the stability and peace in the region and beyond and for arresting inflation in energy and challenges in food supplies. Pakistan, therefore, supports all efforts that aim at finding a negotiated peaceful end to this conflict,” she added.

Regarding the foreign visits of Foreign Minister Bilawal, she said the number of foreign vis­its that the Foreign Minister has undertaken during his tenure as Foreign Minister was 36.

She said Pakistan also fo­cused on projecting the Kash­mir cause as the core of our diplomacy. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spearhead­ed the campaign to project the Kashmir cause at the interna­tional level. We were exten­sively involved in raising global awareness to the catastrophic floods that took place last year, in coordinating internation­al response and in organizing the international conference on climate resilient Pakistan held in Geneva. One of our ma­jor successes last year was Pa­kistan’s exit from the FATF grey list and the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund at COP 27,” she underscored. Pakistan, she said, “also took a leadership position on is­sues pertaining to the Islamic world, including Islamophobia and on women empowerment in Islam. It also led efforts for cooperation between develop­ing countries on sustainable development and on a range of other issues that are important for the developing countries including climate change.”

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