About Us Pakistan

STATEMENT BY 

H.E. MR. SHAH MAHMOOD QURESHI

FOREIGN MINISTER OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN

Your Excellency President Mr. Abdullah Gul,

Chairman CICA Summit,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Asslam-o-Alaikum

Mr. Chairman,

Let me first of all convey, on behalf of His Excellency President Asif Ali Zardari, our warm greetings and good wishes on your assumption of the Chairmanship of CICA. We are confident that under your able leadership, CICA will achieve further strength and emerge as an effective forum to enhance cooperation among Asian States and partners based on mutual respect.

I would like to express our highest appreciation to His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev for his bold initiative and untiring efforts to make CICA an important forum in such a short time. Excellency, under your stewardship CICA has achieved recognition and many important milestones. We are thankful for your leadership.

I would also like to warmly welcome the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Republic of Iraq as full members and the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, as an observer to the CICA fraternity.

For every Pakistani, Turkey is like second home. I am very delighted to be in Istanbul once again. Istanbul is a uniquely inspiring city. Spanning two continents it is a meeting point for East and West; faiths and peoples; and traditions and cultures. Its rich social fabric woven from different cultures and traditions has greatly contributed in shaping the history of world civilization.

I am grateful to my Turkish brothers and sisters and particularly the people of Istanbul for their warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I congratulate them on declaration of Istanbul as the European capital of culture for 2010.

Mr. Chairman,

We have gathered here at a time when our Asian region is undergoing defining transformation. On the one hand we are witnessing unprecedented economic growth, advancement in science and technology, improved connectivity through infrastructure development and information technology. On the other, we continue to be confronted with huge challenges in the form of old and new disputes, poverty and deprivation aggravated by lack of equitable distribution of wealth, population explosion, environmental degradation and climate change, denial of fundamental rights and, of course, terrorism, the most serious and daunting challenge to our open societies.

We owe it to our future generations to make concerted efforts to create healthy, safe and secure societies, banish poverty and deprivation, and leave an ecologically sustainable planet through prudent use of water and other natural resources. CICA provides an excellent forum to discuss all these common challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

A week ago, we witnessed brazen use of force against a humanitarian mission trying to deliver humanitarian aid to besieged Palestinian people in Gaza. It resulted in the death of a number of Turkish nationals. The use of brute force constituted a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. We strongly condemned the use of force against humanitarian flotilla. We would like to convey our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Turkish nation and grieved families.

This tragic incident highlights the urgency to find a just solution of the longstanding Palestinian dispute. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state is essential to bring the Palestinian sufferings to an end and achieve durable peace in the Middle East. This has been the objective of all peace efforts including the Oslo Peace Accord, the Arab League Declaration of 2002, the Quartet Peace Process and even the UN Security Council Resolutions 2424 and 338.

In our own region, the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India held a constructive meeting on the sidelines of 14th SAARC Summit held in Thimpu, Bhutan in late April. The two Prime Ministers agreed to resume the stalled dialogue process at the Foreign Ministers level. On my invitation H.E. Mr. S. M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs of India will be visiting Pakistan on 15 July 2010. I look forward to have constructive and result-oriented dialogue with him. We believe that as the two largest countries in south Asia, Pakistan and India must earnestly endeavour to resolve all outstanding disputes including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir to start a new era of trust, amity and friendship in the region.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan, like other CICA member countries is deeply concerned on the continued instability in Afghanistan. We have been closely working with Turkey and other partner countries for peace, stability and re-construction in Afghanistan. We support President Hamid Karzai's initiative of national reconciliation and re-integration. Pakistan has high stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan, as it would facilitate early return of 3.5 million Afghan refugees to their homeland in honor and dignity.

Terrorism remains the paramount security threat confronting the world today. As a neighbor of Afghanistan, Pakistan has been in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. We have suffered enormous losses both in human lives and material, which include more than 2500 security personnel and 10,000 civilians. Economic losses exceed US$ 40 billion. We even lost our most charismatic and popular leader, former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to a terrorist's bullet. All this has not dented our resolve. If anything, it has led to a national consensus in Pakistan that we must root out terrorism from our territory and the region at large. We are determined to pursue the terrorists to the very end. We are pursuing a 3Ds strategy (Dialogue, Development and Deterrence) to eradicate terrorism from our land. The law enforcement operations in Swat, South Waziristan, Bajaur, and Mahmand agencies have met great success.

There is a need to pursue a cooperative approach against the threat of terrorism by the international community. It would entail a two-pronged strategy: One; Real time intelligence-sharing, cooperation in law enforcement and mutual legal assistance. It would help bring the perpetrators of heinous crimes to justice and Two; Address root causes which are exploited by the terrorists to radicalize the youth. These include economic deprivations, political injustices, foreign occupation and denial of fundamental rights including the right to self-determination.

Mr. Chairman,

An environment of security is indispensable for human, social and economic development. Conversely, the foundation of stability and durable peace among nations and within societies rests on socio-economic well-being, rule of law and equal opportunities for progress for all segments of society.

Economic cooperation at the regional and sub-regional levels is a key to achieving socio-economic development and by implication to ensure peace and stability in and between the countries.

Geographic contiguity, well developed communication and transportation links and economic inter-dependence offer vast opportunities for closer cooperation and collaboration between CICA countries. The destinies of Asian countries today are more closely intertwined than ever before.

It is encouraging that CICA is exploring cooperation among member states in various dimensions including economic, environmental and human dimensions. Some parts of CICA region fall in the category of vulnerable regions in the context of climate change. The Central and South Asian regions which largely depend on glacial and rain waters for their fresh water supplies will be most affected by the global warming. The environmental assessment undertaken by our own experts indicate that Pakistan falls in the region most susceptible to the adverse impact of climate change. We must endeavour to benefit from respective strengths of CICA member states to overcome the challenges posed by global warming.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan's strategic location at the crossroads of South, Central and West Asia places us in an ideal position to act as the most convenient trade and energy corridor for these vital regions and China. We have developed a deep sea port at Gawadar, which will be used as a transshipment port to facilitate trade with the Central Asian region and western parts of China. We have also undertaken major infrastructure projects to upgrade road and rail transportation networks to facilitate commerce and trade with the regional counties.

Mr. Chairman,

CICA is a unique organization as it represents the diversity and richness of Asian region, which faces a range of formidable challenges but also offers enormous opportunities. There are any numbers of analysts already describing the 21st  century as the Asian century. We are very optimistic about the future, as Asia prepares to tread on the path of close interaction and cooperation among regional countries. Pakistan is ready to play its part for a prosperous, peaceful and stable region. At this Summit, I believe, we shall come out with tangible results in achieving our cherished objectives.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.