Economic security crucial function of national security: Qureshi


ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday chaired an interactive session on economic diplomacy at the Foreign Office, which was also attended by the Pakistan’s envoys to USA, Turkey, Austria, Iran, Russia, the Netherlands, and Permanent Representatives to New York and Geneva. This was the eighth meeting of the series.

While underscoring the growing significance of geo-economics in international politics, the foreign minister said the economic security is a crucial function of national security. He highlighted the government’s paradigm shift from geo-political contestation to geo-economic cooperation and urged the envoys to make concerted efforts to implement the government’s economic agenda, the Foreign Office said.

The foreign minister also commended the pivotal role played by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its missions abroad in safeguarding Pakistan’s economic interests, especially in the successful implementation of the government’s various initiatives/programmes such as the Roshan Digital Account Initiative.

During the session, the participants identified the bottlenecks impeding bilateral economic cooperation with the envoys giving their recommendations in this regard. They provided valuable input and insight on how to enhance the economic cooperation at bilateral and regional levels.

Meanwhile, the Indian Charge d’ Affaires was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked to convey the Government of Pakistan’s serious concerns to the Government of India over the widely reported open calls by Hindutva proponents for carrying out genocide of Indian Muslims.

Pakistan also called on the international community, including the United Nations, OIC and relevant human rights organisations to hold India accountable for its gross and systematic human rights violations against minorities, particularly Muslims, and take immediate measures to save them from impending genocide.

These violent hate speeches were made during the “Dharma Sansad” held at Haridwar, Uttarakhand, from 17-20 December 2021. It was impressed upon the Government of India that it was highly reprehensible that the Hindu Raksha Sena’s Prabodhanand Giri and other Hindutva figures who called for ethnic cleansing have neither expressed any regret nor the Indian government has condemned or taken any action against them so far.

“It was conveyed to the Indian side that the reported hate speeches have been viewed with grave concern by civil society and the cross-section of the people of Pakistan and around the world. Regrettably, the toxic narrative against minorities, particularly Muslims and their persecution under state patronage has become a norm under the current Hindutva-driven BJP-RSS combine government in India,” said the Foreign Office.

It was reminded to the Indian side that such incitement to violence by Hindutva figures, including ruling party’s elected members, also preceded the anti-Muslim riots in New Delhi in February 2020.

The Indian diplomat was told that continued grave violations of human rights of minorities, especially Muslims and their places of worship, anti-Muslim legislation by the Union Government of India and several BJP-ruled states, and continued incidents of violence against Muslims on flimsy pretexts by Hindutva groups with complete impunity and often under state patronage highlight the worsening trend of Islamophobia and present a grim picture about the fate of Muslims in India.

“India is expected to investigate these hate speeches and incidents of widespread violence against minorities, particularly Muslims and their houses of worship and take measures to stop such incidents from recurring in future. Pakistan also urged India to ensure the safety, security and wellbeing of its minorities, including protection of their religious places and way of life,” added the Foreign Office.

Meanwhile, according to Indian media reports, apart from Muslims the Christian community was also under attack. Celebrations during Christmas saw attacks by Hindu extremists on churches, destruction of their statues, and barging into rooms and disrupting prayers being held. On Monday, the Modi government shockingly froze the bank accounts of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.

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