Pakistan’s position on Ukraine driven by imperative of protecting vital interests: FO

The FO spokesperson said Pakistan had engaged both Ukraine and Russia, the neighbouring countries, key partners in Europe and others, and was willing to make all possible contribution to reinforce efforts for a diplomatic solution.

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Friday said Pakistan had taken a principled decision not to be part of the bloc politics and stressed that the position on the Ukraine situation was driven by an imperative of protecting its vital interests.

“Pakistan will only be a partner in peace, not in conflict,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said at the weekly press briefing here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The FO spokesperson said Prime Minister Imran Khan had alerted about the adverse consequences of the conflict for everyone, especially the developing countries, and added that the situation was “clearly evident today”.

He said Pakistan had also consistently emphasized the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, including self-determination of peoples, non-use or threat of use of force, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, pacific settlement of disputes and equal security for all.

“We believe these principles should be applied consistently and universally,” he stressed.

Spokesperson Iftikhar said Pakistan remained “deeply concerned over the continuing military conflict.

“We are calling for immediate cessation of hostilities, establishment of humanitarian corridors and provision of humanitarian assistance, and continuation of talks between Ukraine and Russia and persistent efforts for a diplomatic solution,” he added.

The FO spokesperson said Pakistan had engaged both Ukraine and Russia, the neighbouring countries, key partners in Europe and others, and was willing to make all possible contribution to reinforce efforts for a diplomatic solution.

He mentioned that Pakistan had also dispatched humanitarian assistance for the Ukrainian people, in keeping with its close relations with Ukraine.

On the upcoming 48th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on March 22-23, he said Pakistan was set to receive the participating foreign ministers and delegations.

He said the foreign ministers would also witness the Pakistan Day Parade as guests of honour, in a show of solidarity with Pakistan and its people.

Under the theme of the OIC Session, ‘Partnering for unity, justice, and development’, he said the country was committed to foster unity within the Ummah, advancing the cause of justice for all the Muslim peoples, and promoting prosperity and sustainable development for the member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“We will seek to build partnerships and bridges of cooperation across the Islamic world to address the myriad of challenges confronting us and to seize the multiple opportunities that present themselves to promote the collective interests of the Ummah,” he said.

He mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan would make a keynote address at the inaugural session.

Apart from addressing the core issues on the agenda, particularly Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir, he said the conference discussions would focus on key priorities such as countering Islamophobia, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and diverse matters of peace and security, economic development, cultural and scientific cooperation and revitalizing the role of the OIC.

He said the follow-up of the extra-ordinary session on Afghanistan would also be reviewed.

The FO spokesperson said over 100 resolutions were likely to be adopted by the Session, and would articulate the OIC’s perspective on major contemporary issues.

About significant achievement of Pakistan’s diplomacy under the guidance of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he mentioned that the United Nations General Assembly had unanimously adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC countries proclaiming March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

The resolution, he said, reflected the sentiments of more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was the first Muslim leader to raise the issue of Islamophobia at the UN – in his first address to the UNGA in September 2019.

“In his several addresses since, at various international forums, the prime minister has continued to forcefully advocate the need to effectively combat the scourge of Islamophobia,” he said.

He said the prime minister had rallied the Muslim world for collective and effective action against Islamophobia.

On Islamophobia, he said Pakistan had been a “bridge-builder” on the issue.

“We want to promote respect for all religions and beliefs, and we continue to advocate global dialogue among civilizations under the ambit of the UN to promote interfaith harmony and understanding,” he said.

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