World must not overlook people under occupation, says Pakistan’s envoy to UN

Maleeha Lodhi. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 11 October 2018

World must not overlook people under occupation, says Pakistan’s envoy to UN

  • Colonial and foreign occupation is a huge obstacle to economic and social development, says Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan’s socioeconomic priorities are in sync with the 2030 global development agenda, asserts the Pakistani envoy

UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has urged the international community to ensure that people suffering under colonial and foreign occupation are not left behind in the inclusive world envisioned in UN’s 2030 development agenda aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change.

Speaking in the General Assembly’s Second Committee, which deals with economic and financial matters, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that colonial and foreign occupation was a huge obstacle to economic and social development, and to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Let me underline Pakistan’s continued support to people living under colonial domination and foreign occupation,” she said in the Committee’s general debate.

“A people’s right of self-determination is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the UN Charter,” the Pakistani envoy said.

“As we envision an inclusive world in 2030: ensuring that no one is left behind, we must ensure that people under colonial and foreign occupation are not left behind either.”

Ambassador Lodhi also cited the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a “shining example” of South cooperation, saying the mega project’s scale and scope was enormous, with huge economic and developmental benefits to the two countries, as well as to the region and beyond.

New Pakistan Government’s Priorities

In her speech, she highlighted the socio-economic priorities of the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, saying they were in sync with the 2030 global development agenda.

These priorities include revitalizing the economy, uplifting the agriculture sector, providing sustainable and affordable energy, conservation, sustainable use of water resources, ensuring green growth, reform of the governance structure, enhancing accountability, and transformation of the health and education sectors.

“While domestic resource mobilization and greater self-reliance are at the heart of this effort,” Ambassador Lodhi stressed, “we believe an enabling international environment, greater access to financial resources and technological support remain critical to achieve our priorities.”

The challenges faced by multilateralism and rule-based cooperative arrangements can adversely affect the realization of development objectives that the international community has set for itself, she said.

On corruption and illicit financial flows, Ambassador Lodhi said that accountability and recovery of stolen assets was a corner stone of the agenda of Pakistan’s new government.

“We firmly believe that enhancing international cooperation is critical to combat illicit financial flows, especially for recovery of stolen assets”, she stressed.

Dr. Lodhi also underlined the importance attached by Pakistan on effective and efficient management of water resources. She said that as a water-stressed country Pakistan was aware of this emerging threat that can undermine its sustainable development gains, retard economic growth and push people back to poverty.

“We have recently adopted a National Water Policy, offering a comprehensive approach to water issues, which is focused on increasing water storage capacity through a number of large-scale projects,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

She cited the example of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, and said that once materialized this would serve as a major source for clean energy, drinking water and irrigation.

Pakistan reopens Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan

Updated 21 October 2018

Pakistan reopens Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan

  • Islamabad closed border crossings with Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government
  • Afghanistan held its third parliamentary elections since 2001 on Saturday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan reopened its Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan on Sunday, state media reported.
Islamabad had closed two main border crossings —  Chaman and Torkham — with Afghanistan on Friday for two days, at the request of the Afghan government.
“The decision has been taken to support Afghanistan in the smooth conduct of the upcoming Parliamentary elections in the country,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.
On Saturday, Afghanistan held it third parliamentary elections since 2001. 
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on the phone on Friday and said, “These elections are an important landmark for the strengthening of democracy in the country, which remains the key to achieving sustainable peace and progress in Afghanistan.”