As tensions between global powers continue to escalate with the rise of new and old military and political blocs, “geo-politics is resurging when geo-economics should be at the top of the international agenda, the Prime Minister of Pakistan told the UN General Assembly on Friday.
Addressing the Assembly’s annual general debate, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, said, “the world cannot afford Cold War 2.0,” because there are a raft of challenges facing humankind that can only be addressed through global cooperation.
Indeed, a series of external “shocks” – COVID-19, climate change and conflict – have devastated developing economies, reversed decades of progress, and left hunger and poverty in their wake, he said, and his own country is a “prime illustration” of these shocks.
“The epic floods of last summer submerged a third of our country, killed 1,700 and displaced over eight million people, destroyed vital infrastructure and caused over $30 billion in damage to our economy,” he said.
Considering these formidable challenges, especially for nations facing debt distress, the Prime Minister stressed the urgency of implementing the SDG Stimulus package.
He also called for the expansion of concessional lending by multilateral development banks and urged developed countries to fulfill their commitments for climate finance.
‘Development depends on peace’
Mr. Kakar emphasized the fundamental role of peace in fostering development and expressed Pakistan’s desire for peaceful and productive relations with all neighboring countries, including India.
“Kashmir is the key to peace between Pakistan and India,” he said, noting that India “has evaded implementation of the Security Council resolutions that call for the ‘final disposition’ of Jammu and Kashmir to be decided by its people through UN-supervised plebiscite.”
“The UN Security Council must secure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir [and] the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) should be reinforced,” he added, calling on global powers to convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restraint on strategic and conventional weapons.
The Prime Minister also said that peace in Afghanistan is a strategic imperative for Pakistan, voicing concerns over rights of women and girls in that country.
Counter all terrorists
Mr. Kakar stressed the imperative of countering all forms of terrorism, including far-right extremism and State-sponsored terrorism, while addressing the root causes of terrorism, such as poverty, injustice, and foreign occupation.
He proposed the establishment of a committee within the General Assembly to oversee the balanced implementation of all four pillars of the Global Counter Terrorism Strategy.
The Prime Minister also voiced concerns over the rise of Islamophobia and highlighted Pakistan’s efforts, along with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to combat the issue.
He proposed several measures to combat Islamophobia, including the appointment of a Special Envoy and the creation of an Islamophobia Data Center.
Strengthened global cooperation
Concluding his remarks, Prime Minister Kakar highlighted the importance of multilateralism within the framework of the United Nations and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to enhancing global cooperation.
To build and sustain peace, today and in the future, “it is vital to reduce power rivalry and tensions”, he said, while adhering to the UN Charter and implementing Security Council resolutions.
Full statement available here.