Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his keynote address to participants of the Islamabad Security Dialogue on Thursday called for an East-West connectivity to help address challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in South Asia.
He said: “In principle, Pakistan is also ready to consider East west connectivity to help address Challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in South Asia.”
While pointing to India, Mr. Qureshi said, “but obviously we need a willing partner that is ready to engage in good faith and that is committed to meaningfully address the factors that have bedeviled peace and security in South Asia for decades”.
“Durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on peaceful resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir conflict,” he added
Calling attention to India’s illegal actions in Kashmir, he said it must stop violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and halt its illegal attempts to change the demographic structure in the occupied territory and implement the United Nations Security Council resolutions thorugh a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.
It must also rethink its policy of fomenting destabilization in Pakistan and embrace a progressive agenda that can benefit the entire region, the Foreign Minister said while highlighting that “in essence, the onus is on India to create an enabling environment” for dialogue.
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A new outlook
While highlighting the idea of a Naya Pakistan, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “Pakistan’s vision of peace, development and connectivity offers an entirely new paradigm. Our outlook and trajectory are fundamentally transformed.”
While regretting that the Int. Community is still looking at Pakistan through a historical lens, he said, “The world needs to update their perceptions and outlooks.”
“Enhanced trade, investment, energy security, tourism and people to people exchanges are our higher priorities,” he added.
While emphasizing a policy of mutual coexistence for the benefit of humanity, Mr Qureshi said, “Our primary interest is in sustaining a peaceful, stable and prosperous world order that takes everyone on board and leaves no one behind.”
The world is going through profound transformation where a new cold war scenario is emerging, FM Qureshi said. “Globalization and multilateralism are being severely undermined by unilateralism and sharpening geo-political tensions,” he added.
While underlining major power competitions, a mix of old and new competitions currently afoot, the Foreign Minister said that threats are being magnified to pursue arms deals and alliance building and military dominance is being done for power projection.
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In a turbulent and volatile atmosphere, Pakistan’s vision is that of economic security for the well-being and welfare of our people, the Foreign Minister said. While fully resolved to protect our vital national security interests, Pakistan advocates coexistence and a win-win cooperation; we won’t take part in any regional rivalries, he clarified.