By Asim Hussain
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Saturday resolved that Pakistan would continue advancing international efforts to protect individuals against xenophobia, intolerance, discrimination, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, violence and incitement to violence based on religion or belief.
In his message on International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, the foreign minister said, â€œAs we commemorate this day, we are particularly alarmed at the global resurgence of xenophobia, hatred and acts of violence against minorities.
â€œEven as victims of violence belong to diverse religious minorities across the world, there is a disproportionate growth in hate speech and stigmatization of Muslim communities and individuals, leading to acts of violence,â€ the foreign minister remarked.
He said Pakistan joined the international community to expressing solidarity with and support to the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief.
He said it was an important occasion to renew global solidarity in countering discrimination, hatred, and acts of violence against people and communities on the basis of religion or belief.
He said guided by the vision of its founding fathers, Pakistan had always been at the forefront of all international initiatives for promoting peace, tolerance, inter-cultural and inter-faith harmony and respect both at home and abroad.
The foreign minister said that on the basis of the principles enshrined in its constitution, Pakistan had taken a number of steps domestically to promote freedom on the basis of religion or belief and protecting minorities, including establishment of the National Commission for Minorities, and restoration of places of worship of minorities. â€œWe opened the Kartarpur Corridor, and constructed the worldâ€™s largest Gurdwara, allowing easy access to our Sikh brethren from the neighborhood and across the world. The UN Secretary General termed it as a â€œcorridor of hope,â€ he said.
He said while commemorating the day, â€œwe are particularly alarmed at the global resurgence of xenophobia, hatred and acts of violence against minorities.â€ Prime Minister Imran Khan has been raising awareness about this phenomenon and remains in the vanguard of international efforts to counter Islamophobia.
He said in our own region, the BJP-RSS regime in India, inspired by the extremist â€œHindutvaâ€ ideology, has embarked upon a sinister design to â€œcleanseâ€ India of the vestiges of its Islamic heritage, and make Muslims second class citizens, and even non-citizens. He said the suffering of Muslims of India had increased manifold during COVID-19 due to targeted disinformation and deliberate hate campaigns against them.
The foreign minister said as the world stood for victims of violence based on religion and belief, it must also call on India to immediately lift its inhuman military siege in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).