President urges world to take steps against Islamophobia

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday urged the international community to take effective steps against the growing trend of Islamophobia by discouraging extremist elements.

In this regard, he stressed promoting inter-faith harmony and dialogue among various religions to remove negative perceptions about Islam. The president strongly condemned the incidents of desecration of the Holy Quran in Denmark and The Netherlands and said that hate speech against religions could not be termed as freedom of expression.

He said the blasphemous incidents rooted in Islamophobia were hurting the sentiments of Muslims across the globe. He pointed out that blasphemy was contrary to the internationally defined principles of freedom of expression. Alvi said Islam focuses on promoting peace and brotherhood among mankind and stressed an action by the world to counter Islamophobia.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi called for expansion of trade and economic relations with Tajikistan and said that steps should be taken to enhance trade and investment cooperation with Tajikistan for the mutual development of the two brotherly countries.

The president said this while talking to Pakistan’s Ambassador-designate to Tajikistan Muhammad Saeed Sarwar who called on him at Aiwan-e-Sadr. The president mentioned that Pakistan had deep historical and cultural linkages with Tajikistan and Pakistan wanted to build enhanced, result-oriented and sustainable engagements with all the Central Asian States under its “Vision Central Asia” policy.

He underscored that Pakistan remained committed to strengthening political, economic and energy connectivity with the Central Asia and that the CASA-1000 energy project was an important component of this strategy, President Secretariat Press Wing said in a press release. The president asked the ambassador to work for improving Pakistan’s image, besides expanding trade, energy, and commercial relations with the host country.

He underlined the need for establishing academic linkages between the educational institutions of both countries, adding that Pakistan was offering online and distance education through the Virtual University of Pakistan and Allama Iqbal Open University, and Tajik students could benefit from it by getting access to their educational content. The president also stressed upon the need for highlighting the anti-minority and anti-Muslim policies of India as well as the atrocities being committed by the Indian Security Forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The president congratulated Muhammad Saeed Sarwar on his appointment as Pakistan’s ambassador to Tajikistan and urged him to work for further cementing bilateral relations with the brotherly country of Tajikistan.