Pakistan, Iran concerned over rising Islamophobia

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Iran expressed concern over the rising trend of Islamophobia across the globe amid the anger in the Muslim world over publication of blasphemous caricatures in France and President Emanuel Macron’s anti-Islam remarks

Both the countries, according to a Foreign Office statement, also agreed on close coordination to support efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan at a time when militant attacks continue inside the country and the intra-Afghan negotiations have stalled.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who arrived with his delegation on Tuesday, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa separately.

The statement issued after the meeting of the foreign ministers in the federal capital said that they exchanged views on the rising Islamophobia in different parts of the world and agreed to undertake efforts to counter this negative trend.

PM Imran for enhancing bilateral cooperation

Prime Minister Imran Khan said during the meeting with Iranian FM that Pakistan and Iran enjoy close and cordial relations, underscoring the need to work closely for promotion of peace, security and development in the region. He also emphasized that the two countries must further strengthen bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit.

The prime minister extended condolences over the loss of precious lives in Iran due to COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing Pakistan’s experience, the prime minister said that the “smart lockdown” strategy and other measures taken by his government led to significant containment of the pandemic in Pakistan.

Highlighting Pakistan’s efforts towards facilitating peace and stability in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

‘Peace in Afghanistan beneficial for entire region’

The prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and hoped that this historic opportunity would be seized by all Afghan parties to secure a political settlement.

The prime minister added that peace in Afghanistan would be beneficial for the entire region as it would create new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation as well as regional connectivity.

Dr Javad Zarif conveyed personal greetings and commitment of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to work closely with Prime Minister Imran Khan for further strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse fields.

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