Pakistan urges Int’l community for economic support to people of occupied Palestine, Kashmir

OIC Group slams holy Quran’s desecration, other Islamophobic acts in Sweden

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UNITED NATIONS: Against the backdrop of conflicts, post-pandemic shocks and climate change, Pakistan Monday called for “generous” political and economic support for the people living under foreign occupation like those in Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir.

“For developing countries, a first priority is poverty reduction, especially in crisis and conflict situations,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the UN Commission on Population and Development,” saying that Pakistan recognized the importance of population strategies especially dealing with health and related social issues.

“Emergency humanitarian and economic support is essential in situations such as in Afghanistan, as well as for the people of occupied Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir,” the Pakistani envoy added.

He underscored the need for understanding population dynamics as societies around the world strive to achieve the ambitious and holistic 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“An educated, skilled healthy and empowered population is the key driver of development; a people which is ignorant and uneducated and enfeebled by disease and unemployment is a drag on development and a recipe for persistent and growing poverty.”

The developing countries, he said, have been devastated in the last 2 years by the coronavirus pandemic and natural and man-made disasters, as well as price inflation in food, energy and other essential commodities, requiring mobilization of adequate finance to respond to these multiple exogenous shocks to their economies and people.

Ambassador Akram endorsed the call by UN Secretary-General and in the FfD (financing for Development) Declaration for larger concessional assistance, debt relief, re-allocation of unutilized SDRs (special drawing rights), larger financing from the IMF and regional banks, and mobilization of the promised $100 billion annually in climate finance, to enable developing countries to recover from these crises and revive their economies.

Apart from such emergency measures, the realization of the demographic dividend for the developing countries, and realization of the SDGs, requires comprehensive national and international policy actions including: a priority focus on human development, with adequate spending on quality education and health, especially the empowerment of women and youth in development; adequate investment in sustainable infrastructure – energy, transportation, agriculture, housing, which can create jobs, ensure economic growth and lay the foundation for industrialization and sustained growth; the construction of an equitable international financial architecture, including a fair international tax system; reform of the world trade regime to allow developing countries preferential and full access to global markets for goods and services to enable export-led growth; overcoming the growing digital divide between the industrial and developing countries, and, halting and reversing the outflow of billions each year in illicit financial flows from developing countries. Meanwhile, to another official commitment, The OIC Group at the UN has strongly condemned the recent “abhorrent” act of holy Quran’s desecration during rallies in Sweden organized by a Danish far-right party, and called for global efforts to counter the “alarming” rise of Islamophobia.

“Such Islamophobic behaviour hurts the sensitivities of over 1.5 billion Muslims and constitute a gross abuse of the right of freedom of expression and substantiate

extremist narratives”, resulting in rising hatred and violence against Muslims, the group said in a joint statement issued Monday.

Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and chairman of OIC group at the UN, chaired and moderated the ambassadorial-level meeting held last week.

“The OIC group unequivocally condemns the practice of insulting Islam, Christianity and Judaism alike, and stand against all acts of hate and violence on the basis of religion or belief,” the joint statement said.

At the same time, the group said it strongly condemns other recent acts of Islamophobia, including “heinous” attacks on mosques, killing and injuring of worshippers, destruction of Muslim homes, ban on hijab and other anti-Muslim acts in various parts of the world.

The OIC group called on the international community to display a collective resolve to confront xenophobia, intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of

religion or belief, and work together for promoting inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence.

“That has been the spirit behind the OIC’s recent initiative by which the UN General Assembly has designated 15 March as the International Day to Combat

Islamophobia,” the joint statement said, referring to last month’s Pakistan-sponsored resolution.

Speaking for Pakistan, Ambassador Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative to the UN, joined in the condemnation of Islamophobic acts in Sweden, but said,

“While we remain concerned by the rise of Islamophobia in Europe, the OIC also needs to may equal attention to anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia in other parts of the world including in our neighborhood in India.”

During the holy month of Ramazan, he said, there has been a visible surge in Islamophobic violence against Muslims spearheaded by radical Hindutva mobs in India, pointing out that the recent attempt to hoist the saffron flag at New Delhi’s Jamia Masjid, derogatory sloganeering, playing of provocative music and the brandishing of weapons by the procession of Hanuman Shobha Yatra with impunity, reveal the gravity of the state-sanctioned hysteria and hatred against Muslims in India.

Pakistan, Ambassador Aamir Khan said, also expresses deep concerns over the bulldozing of Muslim-owned properties in New Delhi’s Jahangirpuri neighbourhood.

“It is bizarre that instead of taking any stern action, the security set up has targeted and arrested only Muslims, who had borne the brunt of the most traumatic intimidation and threats at the hands of the Hindutva miscreants,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“Such incident has re-kindled the horrific memories of Delhi pogrom of February 2020 which was aimed to discriminate, dispossess and dehumanize the Muslim community.”

The recent spike in systematic violence and discrimination against Muslims in India and in occupied Kashmir, Ambassador Aamir Khan are all part of the “Hindutva” ideology of the the ruling BJP-RSS government seeks to eliminate the heritage of Islam from India through destruction of Muslim shrines, monuments and transformation of India’s Muslims into oppressed, second-class citizens.

“The international community must also take note of the deeply worrying trajectory of Islamophobia in India and play its due role in ensuring the safety, security and well-being of the Muslim community.”

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