Pakistan calls for more unity among ASEAN member states

ISLAMABAD  -  Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari yesterday said that Pakistan desired a strong and successful Southeast Asia, which was critical for the stability and development of the entire continent. “The more connected and united we are, the more able we would be in overcoming our collective challenges and prospering together as a region,” the foreign minister said in a message on the 56th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Day. Extending congratulation to the ASEAN members on behalf of the people and government of Pakistan, he said Pakistan shared ASEAN’s vision of amity and cooperation with countries in Asia-Pacific. “We believe that an integrated Asia promises a prosperous future for all. Pakistan has, therefore, endeavoured to develop partnerships all across Asia particularly with ASEAN countries,” he added. Bilawal said that ASEAN was created on 8 August 1967 as a unique platform for regional cooperation in Southeast Asia.Premised on the core principles of cooperation, amity and non-interference, ASEAN had matured over the last 56 years as a leading organization for peace and development in the region, he added. The foreign minister further said that “ASEAN way” of diplomatic engagement provided a blueprint for regional peace and cooperation. “ASEAN is today a central pillar of regional architecture”, he said, adding Pakistan’s relations with ASEAN countries had continued to grow both bilaterally and in the multilateral context, with great potential for enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade, tourism, agriculture, information technology, and maritime cooperation.