Pakistan Calls for Collective Global Efforts to Protect Environment 

Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the rich countries to provide funds to developing countries like Pakistan to fight global warming and improve the ecosystem. He was addressing the main ceremony of International Environment Day in Islamabad. The Prime Minister commended the UN for repeatedly asking the developed world to fulfill its responsibility and support those countries which are working for the protection of environment.

Imran Khan said the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is an opportunity for the world to do the course correction and work towards meeting the carbon emission cut targets. The Prime Minister pointed out that Pakistan’s carbon emission share is miniscule, yet it decided to take initiatives to offset the impact of global warming.

Imran Khan said one billion trees were planted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in a period of five years from 2013 to 2018. He said another one billion trees have also been planted in different parts of the country under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project. The Prime Minister urged the nation to become part of the mega forestation program to make it a success story which will have positive impact not only on the lives of the people but also the country and its economy. He said greater responsibility rests with the teachers to educate the children about the importance of plantation.

He said local communities will be involved for the protection of forests. He said the back of timber mafia has been broken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the help of forest guards which helped increase the forest cover in the province. The Prime Minister said Recharge Pakistan is also being initiated with the purpose to restore wetlands and improve the water table.

  • FY 2021-22 Budget to further strengthen economy of country: PM 

Prime Minister Imran Khan has described the federal budget for fiscal year 2021-22 as development-oriented said it was not only aimed at further strengthening economic stability but also promoting the important sectors of economy such as agriculture, industry and housing.

Presiding over a meeting of the spokespersons of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), he expressed his satisfaction over the fact that Pakistan’s economy was not only stable but was also moving towards development.

The Prime Minister said that at a time of COVID-19, which hit economies across the world and created economic problems, Pakistan achieved economic stability due to a successful strategy. He said that the present government has been fully striving to present the new budget which proved a ray of hope for every segment of the society.

After the tragic incident, the prime minister took to his twitter handle to express his feelings. “Saddened to learn of the killing of a Muslim Pakistani-origin Canadian family in London, Ontario.”He said the condemnable act of terrorism revealed the growing Islamophobia in Western countries. “Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” he remarked.

The prime minister told the interviewer that he had raised the issue with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau, describing him as a leader who understood the importance of fighting online hate and Islamophobia. He urged other leaders to make such commitment. “The world leaders, whenever they decide upon taking action, this will be dealt with,” he opined. Imran Khan reiterated that there was not enough motivation and that some international leaders, or leaders in the Western countries, actually did not understand this phenomenon.

  • EU’s SEP ushered in new era of solid cooperation: FM

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Strategic Engagement Plan (SEP) of European Union had ushered in a new era in bilateral ties and provided a solid architecture for multi-dimensional cooperation.

In a meeting with the European Union High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey, the foreign minister stressed that Pakistan-EU relations had further strengthened with the implementation of SEP signed in June 2019, the Foreign Office said. The two leaders discussed the entire spectrum of Pakistan-EU relations as well as global and regional situation, including the Afghan peace process and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Emphasizing the importance of bilateral trade, the Foreign Minister highlighted that GSP Plus had been a mutually beneficial undertaking and played an important role in the growth of trade between the two sides. He reiterated Pakistan’s firm commitment towards the GSP Plus preferential trade regime and effective implementation of the twenty-seven related international conventions. The two leaders also exchanged views on the Covid-19 pandemic.

Appreciating the EU’s support, the Foreign Minister delineated the steps taken by Pakistan to effectively tackle the situation. The Foreign Minister also briefed on Pakistan’s progress towards the comprehensive implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan and sought the EU’s support in the review process.

He urged the EU side to take note of the systemic and gross human rights violations in IIOJK and play its role for resolution of the dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the regional context, the Foreign Minister briefed on Pakistan’s vital contributions to the Afghan peace process and stressed that the conflict could only be settled through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process.

  • SBP issued Rs 70 commemorative coin on 70th anniversary of Pak-China ties 

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the time-tested relationship of Pakistan and China was flourishing with each passing day, unaffected by the vicissitudes of time and changes in the regional and global environment.

In his address at the issuance of commemorative coin in connection with celebrations marking 70 years of establishment of Pak-China diplomatic relations, the foreign minister said unrelenting efforts of the successive generations of people and the leadership of Pakistan and China had transformed the relationship into an ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.’

The coin’s denomination has been kept at Rs 70, depicting the 70 years of all-weather, time-tested and brotherly relationship between Pakistan and China. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir, China’s Ambassador Nong Rong and senior officials attended the ceremony. Foreign Minister Qureshi speaks at the launch of commemorative coin here at the State Bank of Pakistan. The foreign minister said the relationship of Pakistan and China was unique in the world with the historic ties stretching over the span of millennia. “Historically, academics, monks, travellers and traders frequently traversed the stretches of Trans-Karakorum tracts and laid the foundation of this fraternal bond,” he said.

Qureshi said Pakistan and China steadfastly supported each other on the issues of core interest. He mentioned that Pakistan adhered to ‘One-China’ policy and supported China on issues such as Xinjiang, Hong Kong, South China Sea, Taiwan and Tibet. “Maintaining its principled stance, China has unwaveringly supported Pakistan on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute,” he said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong and Governor State Bank of Pakistan attended the ceremony. On China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the foreign minister said the venture brought this relationship to new heights.

  • Pakistan calls for preference to debt swaps for nature and the SDGs

Ambassador Munir Akram delivered his opening remarks in his capacity as President ECOSOC at the High-level Dialogue on Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought, United Nations. He stated that “It is imperative to hold our advanced country partners to their commitment to mobilize the hundred billion dollars in climate finance”: Ambassador Munir Akram, President of ECOSOC urged while speaking at the President of the General Assembly’s High-level Dialogue on Desertification and Land Degradation here today. While expressing his concern, Ambassador Munir Akram said that: “Land degradation is undermining the wellbeing of some 3.2 billion people, driving species to extinction and intensifying climate change”. “From 2000 to 2015, global trends in land cover indicated a net loss in natural and semi-natural classes of land”: he added.

“The effects of unsustainable land management practices and demographic pressure on land degradation and desertification are also being exacerbated worldwide due to the effects of climate change”; he said. He further expressed that “As a consequence, populations’ abilities to generate livelihoods are increasingly becoming limited, particularly in the dry lands” which has “led to increased poverty, malnutrition, migration, political insecurity, and conflict”. “These losses resulted from direct and indirect factors, including deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices, land use change and urbanization” he expressed his concern.

He proposed three key priority actions: First, “We must ensure that reforestation and adaption are incorporated into national poverty alleviation programs of national governments”, Second, the full utilization of science and technology is important to halt land degradation and desertification, Third, finance, is the key to the implementation of all plans and programs”. “We need a whole spectrum of solutions: a resolution of the debt crisis, which hampers countries from making outlays on nature- based solutions and reforestation” he insisted. “We also need to give preference to debt swaps for nature and the SDGs”: he added. He urged that “we must stop the process of deforestation. We must provide alternatives for rural populations dependent on wood burning through renewable energy projects and by creation of job opportunities in the rural areas”. 

  • Pak-China-Afghanistan trilateral mechanism imperative for regional peace: FM

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan attached huge importance to its trilateral mechanism with China and Afghanistan for enhancing cooperation and coordination in the areas of shared interest.

In his virtual address at the 4th China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, the foreign minister said Pakistan had always strived to strengthen its relations with China and Afghanistan in the bilateral as well as regional context.

The foreign minister said, “We strongly believe that peace, prosperity, and economic development of our three countries are interlinked.” About four years ago, he said, three countries had conceived this trilateral forum for discussing collaborative efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region, enhancing security and counter-terrorism cooperation and deepening regional connectivity, and shared economic development through meaningful projects.

The foreign minister said since then, Pakistan had successfully moved forward this forum through a gradual, phased but consistent approach. He said the United States and NATO forces had already started the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. He said while the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan entailed serious security challenges, it also offered a unique opportunity for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and moving the country from a perpetual internal conflict to an era of peace and stability.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said geo-economic is a priority of our government and we want to make Pakistan hub of economic activities. In this regard, CPEC project and Gwadar Port will play an important role.

  • Netanyahu era end, Israel’s new government begins

The first Israeli government in 12 years not led by Benjamin Netanyahu got down to business , with the former prime minister shying away from a handover ceremony with successor Naftali Bennett. The right-wing leader’s record run in office ended with parliament approving, by a razor-thin majority of 60-59, a new administration led by Bennett, a nationalist whose views mirror Netanyahu’s on many issues.

In Tel Aviv, thousands turned out to welcome the result, after four inconclusive elections in two years. “I am here celebrating the end of an era in Israel,” said Erez Biezuner in Rabin Square. “We want them to succeed and to unite us again,” he added, as flag-waving supporters of the new government sang and danced around him.

A combative Netanyahu, 71, said he would be back sooner than expected. “If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it,” he told parliament before Bennett was sworn in.

The traditional handover ceremony was not scheduled at the prime minister’s office, where Netanyahu was expected to meet Bennett later on Monday to brief him on state matters. The last time Netanyahu was unseated as Israel’s leader, in 1999, he ended his first term in office with a glass of wine in his hand and affable words of welcome to then-Labour party leader Ehud Barak, who defeated him at the polls.

  • Erdogan hails Pakistan’s Palestine Peace Mission

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on President of Republic of Turkey Hon. Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 18 May 2021 in Ankara. The Foreign Minister conveyed best wishes from Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as appreciation for President Erdogan’s highlighting Israeli injustices and excesses against the Palestinian people.

The Foreign Minister briefed the Turkish President on the sentiment prevailing in Pakistan in support of the people of Palestine including the resolution unanimously adopted by the National Assembly, as well as the diplomatic contacts made by Pakistan on this issue.

President Erdogan appreciated the diplomatic outreach being carried out by the leadership of Pakistan on the Palestine issue. He noted that the Turkish Foreign Minister earlier in the day had informed the Turkish Parliament about the visit of the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and had acknowledged that Pakistan steadfastly stood behind the Palestinian people.

Thanking President Erdogan for his support on Jammu and Kashmir, the Foreign Minister underlined that it was a source of strength for the people of the occupied territory. The Foreign Minister assured Pakistan’s continued support to Turkey on its core interests. Expressing concern on rising Islamophobia, the Foreign Minister emphasized the need for continued joint efforts at all relevant multilateral fora. He thanked President Erdogan for Turkey’s support in this regard.

The Foreign Minister remarked that the Prime Minister attached high importance to fraternal bilateral relations with Turkey including the institutional mechanism of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC). He recalled President Erdogan’s last visit to Pakistan in February 2020, which helped transform Pakistan-Turkey relationship into a robust strategic partnership through Strategic Economic Framework (SEF).

The Foreign Minister strongly condemned the Israeli aggression against the innocent people of Palestine.

  • Pakistan approaches key stakeholders in Afghan peace process

Pakistan has reached out to key regional countries having stakes in Afghanistan with a view to develop a consensus amid renewed push by the United States to seek an end to the decades-old war through a peace deal.

As part of the diplomatic outreach, Pakistan’s special envoy Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq travelled to Iran and held talks with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif.

Pakistan as well as China, the US and representatives of the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government have been invited by Russia. Ambassador Sadiq will represent Pakistan, the US by Zalmay Khalilzad while the Taliban delegation would be led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and the Afghan government is likely to be represented by Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the Afghan high peace council.

“A high-level delegation of 10 members of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, led by (Taliban co-founder) Mullah Baradar Akhund will attend the meeting held in Moscow,” tweeted Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban office in Qatar. The Moscow summit is aimed at pushing for a solution acceptable to all the parties concerned. Moscow has proposed an interim government comprising all players, including the Taliban. The proposal appears to be in sync with the draft peace plan prepared by the US that also seeks a transitional Afghan peace government comprising of the Afghan Taliban and all other political groups.

Pakistan is consulting all the key stakeholders on the fast-paced diplomatic activities. In Tehran, Ambassador Sadiq briefed Foreign Minister Zarif about Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the renewed push for peace deal in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, however, had voiced reservations over extending invitation to India for the UN meeting. Islamabad is not in favour of giving India any role in peace efforts on the ground that New Delhi has only acted as “spoiler.”

  • West ignoring genocidal violence in IIOJK: says PM

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the West is ignoring the atrocities in Kashmir with hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris been killed by the Indian troops. “This is such a big issue in the western world as to why are the people of Kashmir ignored,” the prime minister said in an interview with Jonathan Swan of Axios on HBO aired on Monday.

The prime minister said the Kashmir issue was “much more relevant” where 800,000 Indian troops had literally put the nine million Kashmiris under the jail. “Why is this not an issue? This is hypocrisy,” he said, referring to the apathy of the West towards the plight of Kashmiri people facing the humanitarian crisis for decades.

On Islamophobia, the prime minister termed a “big communication gap” between the Islamic world and western societies as the main reason. He said after 9/11, the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was coined that misguided people in the West who started believing that Islam led to terrorism.

Asked about “doing vastly better than the United States” on COVID-19, the prime minister said partial lockdown coupled with comprehensive data analysis helped his government keep the pandemic in control. Smart lockdown was the “best decision” to cope with the situation, he added.

“Absolutely Not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not,” he said, in an earlier excerpt of the interview shared at HBO website. The prime minister gave the response as the interviewer asked him if he would allow the American government to have CIA conduct counter-terrorism missions in Pakistan against Al-Qaeda ISIS or the Taliban.

  • Pakistan, Japan reaffirms commitment to expand bilateral ties

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz has said that Japan is the pioneer in the field of Science and Technology and has made commendable contributions in this area. Pakistan would like to benefit from its expertise especially towards the increase in exports of engineering goods, he added. He said this while talking to Ambassador of Japan Kuninori Matsuda who met him.

Federal Minister said that Pakistan enjoys excellent relations with Japan and is desirous of diversifying this relationship in various fields especially Science and Technology. He emphasized that Science and Technology provides the main foundation of any country’s economy and there can be no better country than Japan for cooperation in this field. He stated that Pakistan has not been able to properly explore it’s maritime resources, thus would require cooperation in this area for the optimal utilisation of these resources and development of aquaculture in the country. He highlighted that Human resource development in Science and Technology is also an area where Pakistan can utilize the expertise of Japan.

Ambassador Kunninori Matsuda congratulated the Federal Minister on assuming the charge of Ministry of Science and Technology. He conveyed that Japan is more than willing to cooperate and work towards diversifying the relationship in various fields. He informed that Japan would be increasing its scholarship to the Pakistani students. Moreover, he said that Japan is looking for Pakistani talent and youth especially in the field of Information Technology.

  • Pakistan, Finland Celebrate 70 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Pakistan and Finland are celebrating seven decades of their diplomatic ties characterized by mutual respect, understanding and collaboration. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a letter of felicitation to his Finnish counterpart said the marking of 70 years was an important milestone in the political and diplomatic history of the longstanding and friendly relations. He termed Finland an important development partner of Pakistan and expressed confidence that the collaboration would grow stronger.

Foreign Minister of Finland Pekka Haavisto in his letter to FM Qureshi said the two sides in recent years witnessed a growing interest towards cooperation in education, Information Technology, digital solutions and sustainable management of natural resources. He mentioned that a number of leading Finnish experts were active in Pakistan particularly in areas of energy and IT sectors. He said Pakistani textiles, food products and sports goods were well-known and appreciated in Finland.

Finland’s ambassador to South Asia covering Pakistan Harri Kämäräinen said the 70 years of friendly relations formed a good basis for enhancing cooperation in the years to come. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Pakistan also issued a video documentary on 70 years of ties between Pakistan and Finland.

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