Former President of United States
President Biden has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. Today, we should pause to pay tribute to the extraordinary sacrifices of the Americans who have served in our longest war, as well as their families. We also honor the allies who served alongside us, and the Afghan people who have suffered so much in pursuit of a better future for their country. It has been a long and arduous struggle in Afghanistan, rooted in our response to the deadliest terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland in our history. American troops, diplomats, and development workers can take pride in their efforts to deliver justice for 9/11, destroy al Qaeda’s safe-haven, train Afghan Security Forces, and support the people of Afghanistan.
Since we began to draw down U.S. forces in 2011, the United States made clear to the Afghan government that we would be gradually transitioning responsibility for security while creating time and space for efforts to improve governance and pursue diplomacy. Nearly a decade later, it is time to turn the page to the next chapter of our relationship with Afghanistan. There will be very difficult challenges and further hardship ahead in Afghanistan, and the U.S. must remain engaged diplomatically and through our development efforts to support the Afghan people, particularly those who have taken extraordinary risks on behalf of human rights. But after nearly two decades of putting our troops in harm’s way, it is time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and that it’s time to bring our remaining troops home. I support President Biden’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.
Prime Minister’s Office of Pakistan
*Prime Minister holds Virtual Summit with President of Uzbekistan*
The first Virtual Summit between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev was held today. During the wide-ranging talks, views were exchanged on bilateral, regional and international issues.
The two sides highlighted the depth of Pakistan-Uzbekistan relations rooted in common faith, shared history and cultural affinities. They also reiterated their determination to maintain momentum of high-level exchanges and further enhance the upward trajectory of the relationship.
The two leaders reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations — with particular focus on political, trade, security and defence, educational and cultural domains. They also agreed to encourage more people-to-people contacts including through spiritual (ziyarat) tourism.
Prime Minister Imran Khan underlined the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic linkages, fast tracking trade and economic cooperation, ensuring early finalization of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Transit Trade Agreement (TTA), increasing security and defence cooperation, and taking steps to deepen mutual collaboration in the fields of education, culture and tourism.
The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of rail, road and air connectivity and highlighted the enormous potential that exists in diverse fields to build an expanded mutually-beneficial partnership.
The Prime Minister highlighted Pakistan’s economic security paradigm and the shifting focus to geo-economics. He stressed that Central Asia was a region of particular focus in this vision.
The level of progress on the Trans-Afghan Railway Line Project, agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, was reviewed. The project would be a first step in linking the Central Asian transport network with Pakistani seaports of Gwadar, Karachi and Qasim. Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that, once completed, the initiative would transform the geo-economic dynamics of the entire regime.
The two leaders also discussed important global and regional matters of mutual interest, and reaffirmed the commitment to continue supporting each other at all international and regional fora, including the UN, OIC, SCO and ECO.
Prime Minister Imran Khan apprised on the latest situation in IIOJK, shared Pakistan’s perspective on issues of peace and security in South Asia, and underlined the imperative of peaceful resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.
The Prime Minister also highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. He stressed that this historic opportunity must be seized by the Afghan parties to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive negotiated political settlement.
The Prime Minister also underscored the importance of countering Islamophobia and promoting inter-faith harmony.
Following Agreements/MoUs were signed on the eve of the Virtual Summit:
i. MoU for Developing Further Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture.
ii. Agreement on Mutual Recognition in the Fields of Conformity Assessment of Products, Standardization, Metrology and Technical Assistance.
iii. MoU on Defence Cooperation.
President Mirziyoyev reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to attend the high-level International Conference on regional connectivity, to be held in Tashkent in July 2021. Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked President Mirziyoyev and reiterated his invitation to him to visit Pakistan at the earliest convenience.
The two leaders expressed confidence that the understandings reached during the Virtual Summit will further deepen bilateral cooperation and contribute towards forging a stronger, multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries. It was agreed to continue the Summit-level political dialogue in future.
A Joint Declaration was adopted at the conclusion of the Summit.
Office of the Spokesperson, Mofa Pakistan
Foreign Minister’s visit to Berlin
Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi visited the Embassy of Pakistan on the second day of his official visit to Berlin on 13 April 2021.The Foreign Minister was received by the Ambassador and officers of the Embassy.
The Foreign Minister was given a tour of the Consular Section. He interacted with many applicants availing services. With a view to ease the difficulties faced by the Pakistani community and to further facilitate them, Foreign Minister Qureshi inaugurated the position of “Arzi Nawees”, who would offer free-of-cost facilitation for NADRA and IMPASS online-applications. He also announced that a similar post will soon be operationalized in the Consulate General in Frankfurt and in other places in Europe, where required.
The Foreign Minister also inaugurated a “Football Corner” in the Consular Section, dedicating it to the hardworking Pakistanis stitching footballs, especially in Sialkot. He highlighted that this Football Corner would serve as a constant reminder about the contribution of Pakistan to the most loved sport of football, across Europe. Over 50 million footballs, designed and manufactured in Pakistan, make their way to Germany, every year, to be used especially in the prestigious Bundesliga matches, which are viewed by millions of people across the world.
Foreign Minister Qureshi also interacted with members of the Pakistani community, who had travelled from various parts of Germany to meet him. During the meeting, members of the community apprised the Foreign Minister of ways to further promote Pakistan’s image in Germany and offered many suggestions. The members of the community expressed their gratitude for the inauguration of the Arzi Nawees at the Embassy of Pakistan, Berlin.
In order to acquaint European audience with Pakistan’s perspective on issues pertaining to regional and international developments, including Pakistan-India relations, grave human rights violations in IIOJK, Afghan peace process, CPEC and opportunities for investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), EU DisinfoLab, and FATF, the Foreign Minister held extensive media interactions with German and European media including Die Welt, DW and Diplomatic Magazine. The media representatives from local Pakistani community also interviewed the Foreign Minister.
13 April 2021
Office of the Spokesperson, Mofa Pakistan
Pakistan-Uzbekistan Virtual Summit – 14 April 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev will have a Virtual Summit on 14 April 2021. The two leaders had earlier met on the sidelines of 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of SCO Member States in Bishkek on 13-14 June 2019 and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Forum in Beijing on 26-27 April 2019.
During the Virtual Summit, the leaders will review the entire spectrum of bilateral relations including political, trade, economic, security, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.
The two sides would focus on enhancing political and strategic linkages, fast tracking transit and trade cooperation, and building educational and cultural collaboration. The Trans-Afghan Railway Project, agreed between Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan earlier this year, is a key area of focus.
Relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan are rooted deep in common faith, shared history, and cultural affinities — providing a firm foundation for increased cooperation.
The two countries have increased interaction at all levels over the past two years. The Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan visited Islamabad on 9-10 March 2021 to hold bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi. During the visit, he also met the Prime Minister and delivered an invitation to attend the Central Asia South Asia Regional Connectivity Conference, to be hosted by Uzbekistan in Tashkent in July 2021.
Earlier, in February 2021, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Mr. Razzak Dawood, visited Tashkent to hold trade and transit trade talks and participate in trilateral meeting for the construction of Trans-Afghan Railway Project with Uzbek and Afghan authorities. A roadmap for implementation of railway line on Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar route was signed.
Besides bilateral matters, the two leaders will exchange views on key regional and international issues. They will also deliberate on enhancing mutual cooperation and coordination at international and regional fora.
The Virtual Summit will provide an opportunity to further build on existing bilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest.
13 April 2021
Starting in Geneva tomorrow:
United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED). The Committee will first be addressed by a survivor of an enforced disappearance from Mexico 🇲🇽.
During the session, the Committee will review reports from Switzerland 🇨🇭, Colombia 🇨🇴, and Mongolia 🇲🇳.
More info ➡ https://is.gd/aTCmu8
Watch here from 12:30 CET tomorrow 🖥 webtv.un.org
Office of the Spokesperson, Mofa Pakistan
Foreign Minister’s visit to Germany
Foreign Minister, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, is on an official visit to Berlin on the invitation of his counterpart, German Foreign Minister Mr. Heiko Maas, from 12-13 April 2021. He visited the German Foreign Office today, where he was received by the Foreign Minister.
Extending a warm welcome, Foreign Minister Maas, termed the visit by Foreign Minister Qureshi as a great honour, in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19, which had failed to deter him. He hoped that the visit would further strengthen and diversify the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Germany, especially in the wake of the celebrations commemorating the 70 years of bilateral relations, this year.
The two Foreign Ministers had an in-depth and comprehensive exchange of views on the entire gamut of relations and the possibilities for further deepening this cooperation, especially, in the fields of trade and investment, science and technology, alternate energy, education and legal migration. The Foreign Minister briefed his German counterpart about the vision of the Prime Minister shifting focus from geo-politics to geo-economics and highlighted three pillars of the government’s overarching policy, namely: peace, development partnerships and connectivity. Regional and international developments of mutual interest including Pakistan-India relations, grave human rights violations in IIOJK, Afghanistan peace process, CPEC and opportunities for investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), EU DisinfoLab, and FATF were also discussed.
The Foreign Minister also announced the establishment of a new Consulate General of Pakistan in Munich to harness the economic potential between the two countries and facilitate the Pakistan-origin diaspora, especially in the South of Germany. Foreign Minister Qureshi also highlighted the inordinate visa delays being faced by Pakistani students, businessmen and families and requested for their early resolution.
During discussions on mitigating the impact of COVID-19, German Foreign Minister shared that Germany as the co-founder and biggest contributor to the COVAX initiative, is pleased to announce that Pakistan would receive 15 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, under COVAX, which would be delivered by May 2021. He was pleased to announce this during the visit of the Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed the hope that his visit to Germany would turn a new page in the relationship and set in motion a series of substantive activities/ engagements leading up to the visit of the Prime Minister. He also extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Maas to visit Pakistan, which he was pleased to accept.
Following this meeting, Foreign Minister Qureshi also met Mr. Wolfgang Schauble, the President of German Bundestag (National Assembly). The Foreign Minister briefed him in detail about Afghanistan, India-Pakistan situation, grave human rights violations in IIOJK and COVID. The two leaders also discussed ways to promote Parliamentary exchanges in order to strengthen the democratic ideals between the two countries. The President greatly appreciated and agreed to the proposal of the Foreign Minister to hold bilateral Parliamentary exchanges, online, pending the resolution of the COVID pandemic. These virtual sessions could finalize the agenda for formal meetings to be held when in-person meetings begin as Corona situation improves.
Mr. Joe Kaeser, CEO Siemens Energy called on the Foreign Minister and discussed areas of potential investment in Pakistan and transfer of technology particularly in the power sector. The Foreign Minister invited Mr. Kaeser to Pakistan to work on concrete projects on optimizing the usage of electricity which would help in bringing down the electricity tariffs, to which he agreed.
12 April 2021
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations Human Rights Chief, has urged the UK Parliament to amend proposed law that limits accountability for torture and other war crimes
The proposed new Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, in its current form, risks undermining key human rights obligations that the UK 🇬🇧 has committed itself to respect.
Bachelet has expressed concerns that, unless suitably amended, the Bill could lead to shielding military personnel operating abroad from due accountability for acts of torture or other serious international crimes.
Office of the Spokesperson, Mofa Pakistan
Pakistan strongly condemns extra-judicial killing of 3 Kashmiris including a juvenile in Shopian, IIOJK
Pakistan strongly condemns the extra-judicial killing of three Kashmiris including a 14-year old juvenile and a student of 10th grade by the Indian occupation forces in a so-called “cordon-and-search” operation in Shopian, Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
The further intensification of “fake encounters” is a matter of grave concern. Extra-judicial killings of young men, including teenage boys, and refusal to return human remains of those martyred is completely unlawful and reflects the moral bankruptcy of the Indian Occupation forces.
Pakistan has repeatedly called for independent investigations, under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killings of all innocent Kashmiris.
We call upon the international community to hold India accountable for the gross and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK and work for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
12 April 2021
Office of the Spokesperson, MOFA Pakistan
Prime Minister addresses the Special High-Level Segment of the UN ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development
Prime Minister Imran Khan today inaugurated the Special High-Level Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Forum on Financing for Development (FfD).
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister underscored that the Forum was an important opportunity to adopt decisions for mobilising finances needed by developing countries to recover from COVID-induced recession and maintain the path towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
While deploring “vaccine nationalism” and export restrictions, the Prime Minister called on the international community to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccine was “available to everyone, everywhere, as soon as possible.”
The Prime Minister recalled his five-point agenda for emergency financial support to developing countries including debt relief and restructuring, creation and redistribution of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), larger concessional finance, and an end to illicit financial outflows from the developing countries.
Addressing the need to transform the world economy into one that is development-oriented and environmentally sustainable, the Prime Minister highlighted the need for massive mobilization of public and private investment on sustainable infrastructure and climate finance, especially in the developing countries. The Prime Minister noted that the United Nations was well placed to take the lead in formulating and coordinating the implementation of a plan to make the transition to a green global economy by creating an inclusive, multi-stakeholder mechanism.
The Prime Minister’s participation and statement in the ECOSOC FfD Forum today was a continuation of his global advocacy for the provision of fiscal space for developing countries’ recovery from the public health and economic crises triggered by the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as for the promotion of “green” and sustainable development in the Global South. The Prime Minister has been a leading voice internationally to enhance global cooperation and solidarity to promote these objectives.
The 4-day FfD Forum is being held from 12-15 April 2021, under Pakistan’s Presidency of ECOSOC. A number of world leaders are participating in the meeting to address the themes of resilient recovery, recurrent debt crises, pandemic response and recovery, liquidity for vulnerable countries, and a climate resilient future.
12 April 2021
Office of the Spokesperson, Mofa Pakistan Zahid-Hafeez-Chaudhri-MOFA
In response to Media Queries on UK adding Pakistan to high-risk countries list, the following is attributable to Mr. Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
We have seen the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) (High-Risk Countries) Regulations 2021 regarding certain jurisdictions including Pakistan.
The UK’s assessment leading to the subject regulation is not based on facts. Pakistan has a robust AML/CFT regime in place. In particular, over last two years we have taken unprecedented measures through a series of legislative, institutional and administrative actions in the domain of anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism. These actions, which have also been reported to FATF and shared with the EU have been widely acknowledged by the international community. The near completion of Pakistan’s FATF Action Plan through 24 out of 27 Action Items is a testament to Pakistan’s commitment and tangible actions in AML/CFT domain.
We hope the U.K. would review its regulations in light of facts on ground and avoid politically motivated and misplaced measures