ISLAMABAD: President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Ms Gabriela Cuevas Barron, who is on a visit to Pakistan, called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
During the meeting, the foreign minister and the IPU President exchanged views on a wide range of subjects related to inter-parliamentary cooperation, COVID-19 pandemic, Islamophobia, and regional peace and security. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood was also present.
Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated Ms Gabriela’s contribution as IPU President in advancing the role of IPU and parliaments. Sharing his long parliamentary experience, he highlighted the instrumental role the IPU and parliamentarians could play in promoting democracy, peace and security, human rights development, and a rule-based multilateral system.
The foreign minister apprised Ms Gabriela of the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of Indian illegal and unilateral actions and year-long inhuman military siege, communication blackout, and egregious human rights violations. He shared that the aggravating situation in occupied Kashmir had been discussed in various parliaments around the world.
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Highlighting the IPU as a key institution representing the people and its role in conflict resolution, Foreign Minister Qureshi urged the IPU to take steps to alleviate sufferings of the Kashmiri people and to promote the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination.
The two sides also discussed the growing wave of Islamophobia, xenophobia and hate speech and the implications of these phenomena for international peace and security.
Speaking about the unprecedented global health and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign minister emphasised the need to enhance international cooperation to combat the pandemic. He underscored that IPU could play a key role in addressing Covid-19, climate change and other global challenges.
Established in 1889, IPU is a global organization with national parliaments of 179 countries as its members. The Senate and the National Assembly of Pakistan are both members of the IPU. The Parliament of Pakistan first became a Member of the IPU in 1948. Pakistan is currently an active member of various standing committees of the IPU including the Executive Committee.