New York, 10 December 2021 (TDI): The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan and the Philippines on inter-religious and inter-cultural harmony. The resolution is titled “Promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue” and was adopted on 9 December.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Munir Akram, expressed satisfaction over the adoption of the resolution. In a tweet, he stated that  ‘Recognition of threat from Islamophobia, right-wing intolerance, and defamation of religious personalities should be a source of great satisfaction for Pakistan.

The resolution was passed with 139 votes in favor and 9 absentees.

The resolution underscores the necessity of imparting values of religious tolerance and inter-religious dialogue through educational programs. It underpins the need for respecting religious symbols and personalities.

Moreover, the resolution draws attention towards responsibilities associated with the ‘right to freedom of expression’. It states that the right to freedom of expression must be subjected to necessary limitations and restrictions. These include respect for the rights or reputations of others, national security, public health, public order, and morality.

Additionally, the resolution underpins ‘Call for Mutual Respect’. It emphasizes that insulting religions and sacred religious symbols instigate intolerance and hatred in societies. This, consequently, leads towards fragmentation and polarization of communities.

Speaking at the occasion, Deputy Permanent Representative to United Nations, Mohammed Aamir Khan, said it is imperative to strengthen mechanisms that promote dialogue, understanding, and tolerance.

Drawing attention towards rising Islamophobia, Ambassador Aamir also stated that acts of violence are present in all religions and should not be associated with only Islam.

Pakistan prioritizes interfaith harmony

The ambassador further added, the founding fathers of Pakistan clearly articulated that religion, caste, or creed has nothing to do with the state. Therefore, in Pakistan, respecting other cultures and religions is not only a duty to citizens but also a way of life.

Ambassador Aamir also highlighted Pakistan’s initiatives to promote religious and cultural tolerance nationally and internationally. He said nationally, the government is focused on building a polity based on principles of equality, justice, and tolerance. Moreover, internationally, Pakistan is committed to build relations with other states based on mutual respect, harmony, and solidarity.

The ambassador also mentioned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor between India and Pakistan. He said this step is a reflection of Pakistan’s priority to respect all religious minorities. The country provides a favorable environment for all people to fully practice their respective religions.

The resolution is a significant step in curbing the menace of rising religious intolerance.