Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza represented Pakistan at the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, held from 18-19 October 2018 in Brussels.
Dr. Fehmida Mirza in her statement, focused on promoting cooperation between Asian and European countries to tackle mutual challenges and threats. She said that the long standing dispute of Jammu & Kashmir remains the single largest obstacle to durable regional peace and stability in South Asia. It is vital that the UN Security Council Resolutions, which grant the fundamental right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, are fully implemented, she added.
The Minister called on the ASEM partners to join hands to address the issue of rising xenophobia, Islamophobia, and anti-Muslim sentiment by prioritizing dialogue, cooperation, promotion of understanding and tolerance.
Focussing on Connectivity, the Minister said that it must be promoted not just at a regional and sub-regional level, but also trans-continentally. Appreciating China’s Belt and Road Initiative, she said that Pakistan is proud to have partnered with China to launch its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It provides vital access to markets which is imperative for greater integration between members of ASEM. Through CPEC’s network of road and rail, special economic zones and energy projects, Pakistan will be well positioned to afford Central Asian states access to the sea, and to link China with the Middle East.
On trade, she said that protectionist impulses undermine global free trade and is a threat to global growth. ASEM partners must reaffirm support for a global rule-based trading system, which is even fairer, more open, more equitable and more transparent, she emphasized.
On the issue of Migration, the Minister highlighted that it’s interlinked with poverty, economic deprivation, armed conflict and civil strife. She underscored that it may not be possible to arrest migration by erecting barriers and that the root causes have to be addressed through concerted efforts at nation building, peacemaking and across the board development. The Minister emphasized that legal migration channels have to be opened up to facilitate freer movement of peoples.
The Minister underscored the necessity of stronger international cooperation for mobilization of resources, technologies and innovation, to address climate change and challenges to sustainable development. She added that differentiated commitments and responsibilities under the Paris Agreement must be fulfilled.
Sharing the details on the priorities of the new government, the Minister said that progressing while pursuing green growth, and addressing energy and water crisis, are at the heart of the development agenda. She also informed the ASEM partners about the launch of massive tree plantation campaign in Pakistan with the target of 10 billion trees during the next 5 years.
Highlighting Pakistan’s success in combatting terrorism and extremism, she offered sharing of Pakistan’s counter terrorism experience with ASEM partners. Pakistan remains’ determined to forge partnerships for peace and prosperity in our region and the world at large, she added.
The Federal Minister reiterated Pakistan’s determination and commitment to play a role for a cleaner, greener, fairer, just and a more prosperous world.
The biennial ASEM Summit was attended by the leaders from 21 Asian and 30 European nations.