World Should Look At Pakistan Through A Wider Frame, UN Secretary General
UN Secretary General is in Pakistan. Here is what he said about the country and the regional issues during his press talk in Islamabad.
On Pakistan’s spirit of solidarity
It is simply this: to recognize Pakistan’s outstanding generosity and solidarity over many decades and to highlight its place in confronting some of the biggest global challenges our world faces today. I strongly believe it is time for the world to step back and look at Pakistan through a wider frame.
One of the main purposes of my visit is to spotlight the real Pakistan — with all its possibility and potential. It is deeply rooted in Pakistani culture — from the vision of Muhammad Ali Jinnah … to the philosophy of Allama Iqbal … to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
From the courageous example of Malala Yousafzai … to the giving spirit of Abdul Sattaar Edhi … to the visual artistry and advocacy of Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. And, of course, on better days, we also see it from the bats of the Pakistan cricket team — both the men’s and women’s teams, I might add! Here in Pakistan, we see solidarity in action.
Pakistan is today the world’s second largest host of refugees – and for decades, it was the first…
For 40 years, despite Pakistan’s own challenges, Pakistan has sheltered and protected Afghan refugees with limited support from the international community. I can testify to this. Having served as High Commissioner for Refugees, I always found in Pakistan a reliable and generous partner. One can only imagine how much worse the plight of Afghans would be, and how much more unstable the region might be, without Pakistan’s stellar example of hospitality and compassion.
The United Nations will continue to support Pakistan, and I call on other countries to support Pakistan and indeed show similar leadership in sharing this responsibility in this region and around the world.
As we look to issues of peace and security, the United Nations is profoundly grateful for the dedication and commitment of Pakistan’s peacekeepers. Pakistan has consistently been one of the world’s top contributors to UN peacekeeping, with more than 4,000 men and increasingly women serving today in nine missions around the globe. I also appreciate the Government’s strong support for the Action for Peacekeeping initiative, and for its commitment to continue to improve the effectiveness of our operations.
With respect to Jammu and Kashmir, I am grateful for the work of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. UNMOGIP will continue to monitor the ceasefire at the Line of Control in accordance with its mandate. And today I was happy I could inaugurate the new premises of their headquarters.
I am deeply concerned about the increase in tensions that we have witnessed last year. I have repeatedly stressed the importance of exercising maximum restraint and taking steps to de-escalate, both militarily and verbally, while reiterating my offer to exercise my good offices, should both sides ask.
Diplomacy and dialogue remain the only tools that guarantee peace and stability, with solutions in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the resolutions of the Security Council. Simultaneously, when we see situations of discontent and unrest, it is of utmost importance to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Achieving a comprehensive settlement to the conflict is essential for saving lives and advancing sustainable development.
It is my hope that discussions will be productive in leading to a reduction in violence, especially violence that harms civilians. Reducing violence is critical to build confidence and support for a peace process that leads to a lasting political settlement and a permanent ceasefire. Such conditions would contribute to enabling the peaceful return of displaced persons and refugees to their homes.
I want to reaffirm that the preferred, durable solution for refugees has always been voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity to their country of origin. This is also true for Afghan refugees. Through its support to the ongoing peace efforts and building the necessary regional consensus, Pakistan continues to play a crucial role in realizing this potentially historic opportunity for peace.
The United Nations remains committed to supporting an inclusive and Afghan-led peace process that upholds the human rights of all citizens and leads to a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
On Pakistan’s fight against terror
I came once to Islamabad and Islamabad was a military camp. And the Taliban was very close… the Pakistani Taliban were very close to Islamabad. They had overrun the Swat Valley and they were even a little bit further south. And I have to say that to be today in Islamabad, a family duty station for UN staff, and to compare with the past and to know what in between has been done in the territories that were FATA, and now, I believe, are integrated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and to see that administration is being put in place and to see that there is an intense program of development, that I believe that one has to recognize that the efforts that Pakistan has made to fight terrorism are absolutely remarkable and that they were very successful and everybody should support Pakistan to, I would say, consolidate these enormous efforts that I could witness myself. As I said, I’ve been here in the worst phase of the problem. And it’s very rewarding to come back and see how different these things are.
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