Saturday, February 4, 2023

Terrorism, Islamophobia are big problems today: Bilawal Bhutto

Terrorism, Islamophobia are big problems today: Bilawal Bhutto

ISLAMABAD (APP) - Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday stressed upon enhanced bilateral economic cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia in diverse fields.

During an interview with an Indonesian TV channel, the foreign minister opined that there existed a large scope of cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia. 

He said that they had signed an MoU for setting up a joint ministerial commission between the two countries, adding the economic and bilateral ties between the two countries had more potential which required to be unlocked.

Bilawal said the first and the second largest Muslim countries working together on any issues had big scope. “I believe the sky is the limit and a lot can be changed,” he said, adding that they were very keen to enhance the bilateral economic cooperation and people-to-people contacts between the two countries. 

He mentioned that roots of hatred, division, extremism and terrorism which also gave rise to Islamophobia internationally, were the big issues over which Indonesia and Pakistan should work together.

The minsiter observed that both the countries had already been cooperating at multilateral fora including OIC, ASEAN, UN, G77 and other global bodies.

To a question, the foreign minister said that Pakistan had gained experience in combating terrorism and both the countries could learn from each other’s experiences.

To a query about Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Bilawal said that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar had recently visited Afghanistan with a delegation. "She held ‘productive and meaningful engagements’ with the Afghan interim government authorities over a host of issues and the most important issue of terrorism." 

The minister reiterated that they all wanted to see a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Afghanistan.

“No one wants Afghanistan to become a hotbed or launching pad of terrorists’ attacks in the region or anywhere else. We are hopeful the one-year-old Afghan interim government will not only address the issue of terrorism, but also provide security because that’s a fundamental prerequisite for peace and prosperity,” he added.

He said Pakistan and Afghan were neighbours and would remain as neighbours.

Foreign Minister Bilawal said it was in Pakistan’s interests that there should be peace in Afghanistan. "When there would be a stable country; a prosperous country, they would not have to be worried about the massive exodus of refugees, terrorism and the associated threats."

It would also create economic opportunities for the people of Pakistan as well as for the Afghans, he added.

The minister underlined that the world should engage with the Afghan people in a meaningful way because they were all tired of wars and conflicts as the Afghan generations one after anothers went through these conflicts. He expressed the hope that there would be a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, adding Afghanistan required global support and engagement as the fate and future of the country was in the hands of the people of Afghanistan. 

The minister, responding to another question, said that they were very confident that people of Pakistan would overcome the political and economic challenges and strengthen the democratic system. He said Pakistan was committed to women’s empowerment and education opportunities and would continue advocating such cause internationally. "Pakistan had been the first Muslim country where a woman served as a prime minister," he added.