UNGA president laudes Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: The president of the UN General Assembly, Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, has lauded Pakistan’s efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and its exemplary hospitality of millions of Afghan refugees.

This she said during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday at his office.

The Prime Minister commended the President for her leadership and efforts aimed at empowering the disadvantaged and marginalized people, noting that these priorities were in tune with the Governments’ people-centric agenda.

He also briefed the President on Government’s plans for creation of jobs for young Pakistanis, launching of a massive poverty alleviation programme, five million housing units and billion tree tsunami.

The Prime Minister drew the attention of the President to the massive human rights violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, that have been documented in the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report of June 2018. He called early establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate these abuses, as recommended by the UN.

Referring to blasphemous caricatures, the Prime Minister conveyed the deep anguish of the people of Pakistan on such attempts to hurt the feelings of billions of Muslims. The Prime Minister urged the President to play her role in dissuading elements that carried out such hurtful acts. The importance of building harmony and inter-religious understanding and dialogue was also underlined.

The General Assembly President expressed deep appreciation to the Prime Minister for pursuing an agenda that is anchored in the welfare of people.

Earlier in a joint press briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the UNGA was informed that Pakistan is actively engaged with Afghanistan for a long and durable solution to the Afghan conflict as it believes peace in the neighboring country is also in its own best interest. He said Pakistan believes in Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process.

Qureshi said he discussed with the President of the UN General Assembly the steps taken by PTI government to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. The government has embarked upon a plan to plant 10 billion trees in the country in next five years to make it greener and environment friendly.

The Foreign Minister said the UNGA President was informed that a number of laws have been passed in recent years to protect the rights of women and raise their socio-economic profile in line with the sustainable development goals.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the role of international peacekeeping by Pakistani troops was also shared with the UNGA President. Pakistan is among the top troop contributors and its armed personnel have rendered huge sacrifices in peace keeping operations around the world.

Speaking on the occasion, the UNGA President Maria Fernanda Espinosa lauded the billion true Tsunami project of the PTI government, hoping it would turn the country into greener area with sustainable development. She said all member states need to play their role in overcoming the impacts of global climate change.

The UNGA President while acknowledging the importance of youth bulge in Pakistan said the United Nations will support and assist the steps taken by the government to utilize the potential of this large segment of society, including through education and training and creation of job opportunities.