The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines on the “promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue” by an overwhelming majority, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.
It said the resolution was part of “Pakistan’s global efforts to promote interfaith harmony, tolerance” and respect for each other’s religions and values.
The resolution welcomes Pakistan’s initiative of the Kartarpur corridor, a visa-free border crossing allowing Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, calling it a “landmark initiative for interreligious and intercultural cooperation for peace”.
The resolution for the first time this year also acknowledges the significance and respect for religious symbols. “It stresses that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities, and must therefore be subjected to legitimate restrictions,” the FO statement said.
It emphasised that the resolution was important in the wake of “growing religious intolerance and racism especially Islamophobia around the world” and will help mainstream and curb these contemporary challenges.
According to the FO, the resolution focuses on interreligious and cultural dialogues among all stakeholders and advocates combatting intolerance, xenophobia, discrimination and acts of violence, and highlights the importance of realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, especially the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.
The adoption of the resolution by the UNGA “is part of Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts inter alia for raising awareness about Islamophobia and countering the defamation of sacred religious personalities and symbols”, the press release said.
It noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan had repeatedly called upon the international community to counter Islamophobia and promote respect for religious sensitivities.
In his address to the UNGA in September, the premier had cautioned against the rising tide of Islamophobia around the world and called upon the UN to play its part in combatting religious hatred.
He had noted that Muslims were being “targeted with impunity”, mosques were being desecrated and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was being insulted “in the name of freedom of speech”, and called for “wilful provocations and incitement to hate and violence” to be universally outlawed.