ISLAMABAD (Khyber Mail): Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani is currently in China, where he has been specially invited by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to participate in the Third Trans-Himalaya Forum for International Cooperation, taking place in Tibet Autonomous Region from October 4-5, 2023.

Launched in 2018, the Trans-Himalaya Forum serves as a platform for regional countries to enhance practical cooperation in areas such as connectivity, environmental preservation, ecological conservation, and the strengthening of cultural ties.

The theme for this year’s forum is “Ecological Civilization and Environmental Protection.” During the opening ceremony of the Trans-Himalaya Forum, Foreign Minister Jilani delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation in addressing issues related to environmental degradation, climate change, and ecological diversity loss. He highlighted Pakistan’s commitment to ecological balance and called for policy coordination and experience-sharing among regional countries. He also reiterated Pakistan’s support for regional collaboration aimed at clean and sustainable development.

On the sidelines of the Forum, Foreign Minister Jilani held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two ministers discussed various aspects of the strong Pakistan-China friendship and exchanged views on regional and global issues. They reaffirmed their commitment to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and pledged to enhance high-level exchanges and strategic communication to further strengthen their cooperation.

While in Tibet, Foreign Minister Jilani also met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia, Sainbuyan Amarsaikha. He emphasized Pakistan’s commitment to strengthening its ties with Mongolia, rooted in shared cultural and historical connections. The two foreign ministers expressed their commitment to increasing high-level exchanges and robust dialogue, including plans to boost bilateral trade and investment and explore mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

Additionally, Pakistan and Norway held their 12th Round of Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) in Islamabad. The Pakistani delegation was led by Ambassador Muhammad Saleem, Additional Foreign Secretary (Europe), while the Norwegian delegation was headed by Mr. Vebjorn Dysvik, Director General of the Department for Regional Affairs at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The discussions encompassed various aspects of bilateral relations and included exchanges on regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas such as climate change, the maritime and shipping industry, renewable energy, trade and investment, higher education, science, and technology. Pakistan also extended an invitation to Norway to explore investment prospects through the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

Furthermore, Pakistan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have successfully concluded negotiations on the Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement. This agreement marks the first such accord entered into by the GCC with any country since 2009. Pakistan anticipates the early signing, ratification, and implementation of the Agreement, expecting it to contribute to economic growth and mutual prosperity, opening a new chapter in economic relations between Pakistan and the GCC.

At the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council, Pakistan continues to promote an agenda of peace, dialogue, and mutual understanding among diverse religions and civilizations. Pakistan, in its capacity as the coordinator of the Geneva-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Group, recently co-organized an event titled “Mapping the Efficacy of Normative Framework on Religious Discrimination, Intolerance, and Hatred” with the OIC Observer Mission in Geneva. The event aimed to raise awareness about the growing issue of religious discrimination, intolerance, and hatred, emphasizing the need to strengthen the normative framework for addressing these concerns from a human rights perspective. Pakistan remains committed to combating Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination, intolerance, and hatred based on religious beliefs. Regrettably, in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Indian forces continue to perpetrate serious human rights violations.

During September, Indian troops were responsible for 13 extra-judicial killings and the arrest of 157 civilians and activists. Many of those arrested were detained under the draconian laws of the occupation authorities in IIOJK, including the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). These oppressive measures and human rights violations must cease, and Kashmiri leaders should be released, allowing the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination freely.

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