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Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Ministers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Pakistan delegation, May I join other delegations to express our sincere gratitude to the People’s Republic of China, Minister Wang Yi for the excellent arrangements in hosting this meeting, and for the traditional warmth and hospitality that has been extended to us.

Mr. Chairman,

Two decades ago, CICA was created in Almaty for dialogue and cooperation in many areas including terrorism; drug trafficking, organized crime, human rights, environment, economic progress and trade.

If we draw up a balance sheet of positives and negatives, we will conclude that in area of economy and trade, Asia has made considerable progress.

While Europe and USA are still recovering very slowly from the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the Asian continent has surged ahead with a much faster rate of growth and contributed strongly to global trade and global growth. China has now become the second largest economy of the world.

The economic prospects of Asia for the next decade are even more promising due to several initiatives to expand trade and energy connectivity. The most important initiative in this context is the One Belt One Road vision of Chinese leadership. Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is a flagship component of this vision.

The progress in two other areas namely human rights and environment has also been very positive. The Paris Agreement of 2015 on climate change and the adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations will add considerable momentum to this progress in the coming years.

But in the remaining three areas, namely terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime, the challenges have become more serious. As a result, violent extremism has destabilized many more countries in our region, exacting a heavy toll on human lives and prolonging the suffering of millions of refugees drifting in high seas in search of safety.

Worryingly, instances of Xenophobia, discrimination, religious and racial profiling and defamation of religions are on the rise. A lot more needs to be done to promote inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue and understanding.

Even in this age of democracy, there are countries and sub-regions under foreign occupation, subjected to grave human rights violations and denied their fundamental and inalienable right to self-determination that has been promised to them by the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman,

Cooperative multilateralism offers the best mechanism to effectively address these complex challenges.

The United Nations and its Charter provide the over-arching framework for such cooperation.

Regional cooperation constitutes an important complement in this regard. Based on their comparative advantages, regional arrangements offer useful platforms for dialogue and cooperation among member states, especially on security issues.

We greatly value the role of CICA as a forum for interaction and confidence building to advance the cause of peace and security and development in Asia.

If Asia were to regain its lost power and glory and contribute to global peace and development commensurate with its true potential, we would have to assume our responsibilities and act on several fronts. We also have to draw attention to root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, and the urgent need to address them. This should be main message as a part of the theme of, promoting peace and security through dialogue.

We must find peaceful political solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. Pakistan supports the UN led diplomatic initiatives in this regard.

As emphasized by many speakers, A just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question is essential for comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Likewise, for durable peace and stability in South Asia, the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir must be resolved in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the wishes of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan remains fully committed to this objective as part of comprehensive dialogue on all issues.

A peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan, and the entire region. This is also a pre-requisite for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to realize the full potential of their strategic locations as the hubs of economic, trade and energy corridors and connectivity across regions. Peace in Afghanistan will also enable the return of millions of Afghan refugees hosted by Pakistan for over three decades.

Mr. Chairman,

Before concluding I would like to convey our appreciation for China’s active and able stewardship of CICA and President Xi’s inspiring opening address. It is an important forum. Pakistan will remain actively engaged with member states with a view to strengthening this process for our collective benefit.

Thank you.

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