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FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s Speech at the Second Edition of Islamabad Security Dialogue

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday delivered his keynote speech at the Session V of the Second Edition of Islamabad Security Dialogue titled ‘Challenges to International Security’.

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The following are his full remarks at the event;

 

“National Security Adviser,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour and profound privilege to return to the Islamabad Security Dialogue. As I share my thoughts with you at this session, I want to appreciate the National Security Division and all those who have contributed towards putting this Dialogue together, as an annual feature. It is my sincere hope that this trend of integrating multi-stakeholder inputs into policy-making will continue.

During my interaction with you today I will try to briefly scan the international landscape, and outline Pakistan’s vision for peace and socio-economic development within that perspective.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is undergoing a profound change. Indeed, this is another pivotal, defining moment in history.

The international security environment has become ever more fraught. We are in the midst of profound uncertainty. Strategic stability, both at the global and regional levels, is under great stress.

New centres of power are emerging.

We are witnessing a renewed great power rivalry, accentuated competition, and even a drift towards confrontation.

Confrontation is increasingly eclipsing cooperation.

Focus has been on reinforcing old alliances and forging new security partnerships. Military dominance through power projection is taking shape. Perhaps the seeds of a ‘New Cold War’ are being sown.

Unilateralism and populism have severely undermined multilateralism.

Peace and security in various parts of the world is threatened by a mix of protracted conflicts and unresolved disputes as well as new emerging disputes.

This is happening against a backdrop of a renewal of East-West tensions and emergence of more intense competition in Asia, and indeed elsewhere.

Individual military capabilities are being prioritized over collective security. The cardinal principle of ‘equal and undiminished security for all states’ is being undermined.

Warfare is being fundamentally transformed by disruptive technologies. Cyberspace and artificial intelligence have been weaponized.

In our region, one country has been amplifying threats to justify its relentless arms build-up and hegemonic designs. Regrettably, it is being helped under the dubious notion of ‘net security provider.’

The introduction of destabilizing weapons systems coupled with offensive doctrines and a growing propensity for military mis-adventurism and ‘false flag’ operations, is accentuating challenges to strategic stability in South Asia.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

National security in the era of globalisation no longer depends on internal peace, stability and developmental orientation of a country alone. Global and regional environment play a profound role in shaping the overall security environment.

Globalisation has tied the economies of the world. It has also connected the societies and peoples more directly.

The challenges and security dilemmas faced by Pakistan today are concomitant to global and regional undercurrents.

Pakistani leadership’s vision of Naya Pakistan has been focused around economic security and the welfare and well-being of our people.

In order to focus on these priorities, Pakistan desires peace, security and strategic stability.

Pakistan wants to move away from the acrimony and toxicity of the past. We want to move ahead, into a new era of peace and prosperity, and bring the dividends of economic growth and development to our people.

In line with our emphasis on shifting from geo-politics to geo-economics, we are advocating peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation.

Pakistan’s location makes it a natural hub for economic confluence for competing states. Rather than becoming a part of any bloc or any conflict, Pakistan has consciously chosen to be only a partner for peace and development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are positioning Pakistan as an economic hub, a melting pot for positive global interests.

Centred on economic security, our focus remains on enhancing connectivity, development partnerships, and peace within our borders and beyond.

The Foreign Ministry is actively pursuing these objectives through various tools of diplomacy such as economic diplomacy, public diplomacy, digital diplomacy and science diplomacy.

We are determined to build partnerships beyond our traditional associations. Outreach to Africa has been intensified and our relationships with ASEAN, EU and others are being qualitatively upgraded.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the hallmark of Pakistan’s All-weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership with China, is contributing to Pakistan’s economic turnaround, in addition to promoting regional connectivity and prosperity.

We envision Pakistan emerging as the gateway to Western China, Afghanistan and Central Asia. We are endeavouring to reap the peace dividends in Afghanistan in the form of enhanced connectivity and trade.

After 40 years, there is no internal war in Afghanistan and one government controls the entire country. This presents unique opportunity to stabilize Afghanistan and build sustainable peace.

The international community can achieve that by: engaging with the Afghan authorities; unfreezing Afghanistan’s financial reserves; and reviving reconstruction and sustainable development of Afghanistan.

It is imperative that international assistance to Afghanistan is scaled up, to help address the humanitarian and economic crises faced by the Afghan people and contribute to their socio-economic wellbeing.

It is also incumbent on the Afghan authorities to positively respond to the expectations of the international community with regard to inclusivity, human rights including women rights and girl’s education, and the threat of terrorism.

Pakistan will continue its efforts in support of the fraternal Afghan people as part of our commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Distinguished Participants,

Pakistan is a responsible country striving for peace, prosperity and connectivity in the region.

In principle, Pakistan is also ready to consider East-West connectivity to help address challenges of poverty and underdevelopment in South Asia.

For that, we obviously need a willing partner that demonstrates good faith, and is committed to creating an enabling environment for meaningful engagement.

Unfortunately, we face a toxic mix in India: an extremist ideological regime, which thrives on anti-Muslim hate and hostility with Pakistan, and will do anything to retain its predominantly Hindu electoral support base.

The recent firing of a supersonic missile by India into Pakistan’s territory reflects India’s disregard for aviation safety as well as regional peace and stability. This incident is consistent with India’s irresponsible conduct. It must be addressed by the international community, including the UN Security Council.

Despite provocations, Pakistan continues to act with maximum restraint and responsibility.

It is evident that durable peace, security and development in the region hinge on a peaceful and just resolution of the long-standing Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), accompanied by unabated repression of Kashmiris, have seriously undermined the prospects of peace.

India must halt violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in IIOJK; reverse its unilateral and illegal actions including the demographic changes in the occupied territory; and implement the UN Security Council resolutions which guarantee the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices.

India must also rethink its policy of fomenting destabilization in Pakistan and embrace a progressive agenda that can benefit the entire region.

The onus remains on India to create an enabling environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The recent events in Ukraine reflect a failure of diplomacy. We believe that all efforts must be made for the immediate cessation of hostilities to avoid further loss of life, and to address the humanitarian situation.

The current situation is posing an unprecedented threat to international peace and security, and global economic stability.

Prices of energy and food commodities in the international market have skyrocketed. Supply chains have been disrupted to the detriment of developing countries.

Pakistan has maintained a principled and non-partisan position on the matter. We have consistently emphasized the fundamental principles of the UN Charter including non-use and threat of use of force; respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states; and pacific settlement of disputes.

We have also reached out and maintained contact with all sides. Pakistan has also sent humanitarian assistant to Ukraine – country with which we have our friendly and cooperative relations.

We believe that a diplomatic solution through dialogue and negotiations is indispensable – and must be pursued as a matter of priority.

I am glad that the recently held OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in Islamabad also adopted a similar approach. The OIC Ministers urged both sides to engage in meaningful dialogue and expressed willingness to facilitate it. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world has seen the ravages of war. Polarisation and power projection has only brought catastrophic consequences for humanity.

The quest for human security and the fight against climate change, environmental hazards and pandemics demand integrated international efforts.

Zero-sum perspectives must be shed. We need to focus on cooperation, rather than confrontation.

Pakistan is committed to peaceful co-existence and cooperative multilateralism for win-win outcomes.

Pakistan’s outlook and trajectory are fundamentally transformed. While confident of our security and defence capabilities, our priorities are increased trade, investment, energy security, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.

Pakistan will continue to support an equitable and inclusive global order, where no one is left behind.

We strive for a world of peace, progress and prosperity, in which benefits of development are shared by all.

I thank you.”

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