In a significant address at the Asia Society conference in New York, Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani expressed Pakistan’s sincere desire for peaceful and cooperative relations with India. Amid growing concerns over regional stability, Jilani emphasized Pakistan’s positive outreach efforts, including the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for visa-free visits by the Indian Sikh community. However, he lamented that these gestures had been met with negativity. The minister also touched upon Pakistan’s vital relations with China, highlighting their historical significance and mutual economic interests. Additionally, he addressed Pakistan’s stance on the Ukraine conflict and its commitment to ending the war and mitigating the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Jilani underscored Pakistan’s stake in a peaceful Afghanistan and its engagement with the Afghan interim government and the international community. He also condemned terrorism in all forms and stressed the need for global cooperation to combat this menace.
Pursuit of Peaceful Ties with India
Interim Foreign Minister Jilani’s address at the Asia Society conference underscored Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to fostering peaceful and cooperative ties with India. He emphasized that Pakistan’s positive outreach initiatives, such as the Kartarpur corridor, which allows visa-free visits by the Indian Sikh community, were intended to promote goodwill and understanding between the two nations. However, Jilani lamented that these efforts had been met with negativity.
Jilani pointed to India’s actions in India-occupied Jammu Kashmir and the alleged human rights violations against innocent Kashmiris by Indian security forces as significant stumbling blocks in improving relations. He also expressed concern about increasing religious extremism in India, particularly against Muslims, which he believed further complicated the situation. Jilani criticized India’s belligerent stance and anti-Pakistan rhetoric during domestic elections, emphasizing that such actions only pushed both countries further away from achieving regional peace and stability.
Strong Ties with China
Addressing Pakistan’s relationship with its neighbor China, Jilani highlighted the historical and robust nature of their ties. He emphasized that these relations were deeply rooted in strong trade and economic connections. China is Pakistan’s largest trading partner and a substantial investor in infrastructure and energy sectors. Jilani made it clear that Pakistan’s relations with China were not a zero-sum game and did not come at the expense of its relations with any other country, including the United States.
Pakistan’s Stance on the Ukraine Conflict
Regarding the Ukraine conflict, Jilani stressed that Pakistan’s position was driven by a commitment to resolving conflicts amicably and respecting UN principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty. He expressed Pakistan’s dedication to playing a constructive role in ending the war and alleviating the suffering of the Ukrainian people. The minister said hoped that peace would prevail, allowing both Russia and Ukraine to enjoy the benefits of stability.
Pakistan’s Stake in Afghanistan
Turning to Afghanistan, Jilani emphasized Pakistan’s profound interest in a peaceful Afghanistan, both internally and in its relations with regional and international partners. He highlighted that this objective was at the core of Pakistan’s efforts to engage with the Afghan interim government and collaborate with the international community on Afghanistan-related issues. Jilani also voiced concern over the human rights situation in Afghanistan, particularly issues concerning women’s rights, girls’ education, and women’s employment.
Condemnation of Terrorism and Call for Global Cooperation
Jilani unequivocally condemned all forms of terrorism, including state terrorism and state-sponsored violence against religious minorities. He firmly rejected any attempt to politicize the issue of terrorism by linking it to specific countries, communities, regions, or religions. The foreign minister stressed that terrorism affected the entire global community, emphasizing the need for collective action to eradicate this menace.
Interim Foreign Minister Jilani’s address at the Asia Society conference conveyed Pakistan’s commitment to pursuing peaceful relations with India and its engagement with the international community on various global issues. The minister highlighted the importance of diplomacy, cooperation, and constructive dialogue in addressing complex regional and global challenges.