ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina agreed on Wednesday to increase trade volumes and expand cooperation in various fields, including science and technology.
Prime Minister Imran Khan received the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic. After the official welcoming ceremony, the two leaders hold a one-on-one meeting, followed by delegation-level talks. Ministers and senior advisers are part of the delegation on both sides.
During the meeting, the prime minister said that Pakistan has brotherly relations with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and relations between the two countries are marked by mutual support in times of need. The prime minister added that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s assistance in the event of the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods in Pakistan was highly appreciated.
The prime minister welcomed the arrival of the Bosnian leader and said that the Pakistani people had a special place for Bosnia since the 1990s when Bosnia was experiencing its worst. He added that since and today Pakistanis have an affinity for Bosnians.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, the prime minister said Pakistan and Bosnia not only signed the agreement on Wednesday but also decided to improve relations and trade, which sadly now is € 4.5 million and it is nothing, therefore, both sides parties agreed to improve in every area of common interest.
Imran Khan also thanked Sefik Dzaferovic for Bosnian support for Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. He said Bosnia was taking a very principled stance and they were talking about the rights of the Kashmiri people, a fair settlement and he explained to His Majesty that India has sadly been taken over by fascist and extremist ideology, and that is not what they are doing in Kashmir, but what is happening. in minorities, especially Muslims, in India.
“And we also discussed what happened in France. We both condemn the terrorist acts by Muslims in France just as any other country would condemn them. However, at the same time, we feel that for harmony between religious communities, it is important that freedom of expression is not used as an instrument to hurt the feelings of religious communities. Every single insult, taunt and mockery of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) caused the greatest suffering to the Muslim community. European powers and Western countries must understand that you cannot use freedom of expression as a weapon to cause suffering to Muslims by insulting our Prophet (PBUH). If not understood, the cycle of violence will continue; there will be provocation, Muslims will react. There will be a reaction against Muslims living in Western countries and especially in France, which will lead to marginalization and more radicalism and this cycle will continue unless there is an understanding and respect for the sentiments of every religious community and especially Muslims living in Europe, The prime minister maintains.
Imran Khan thanked Sefik Dzaferovic for giving him the invitation to visit Bosnia. The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s effective efforts to combat COVID-19 through a ‘smart lockdown’ strategy and a focus on saving lives, securing livelihoods and stimulating the economy. Noting the efforts being made by Bosnia and Herzegovina to contain the pandemic, the prime minister announced Pakistan’s intention to provide material assistance to the Bosnian side in fighting the pandemic.
On the other hand, Sefik Dzaferovic highlighted the close ties between Pakistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s important role in advancing peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission during the Bosnian war and later during the stabilization process. .
He said that Pakistan and Bosnia Herzegovina had always been very friendly countries and there were no open issues between the two countries. However, he noted that there are many ideal opportunities to expand relations between the two countries. He said his country was trying to respond well to what Pakistan had done for them.
Bosnia, he said, sent doctors, after the earthquake in Pakistan, schools and ambulances had been built. “And, we’ve done what we can in those difficult times. We have discussed opportunities for further cooperation and today we signed two very important agreements, “he said.
The two leaders exchanged views on the overall bilateral relationship and agreed to further deepen cooperation in all fields, especially in the fields of economy, trade and investment, science and technology, defense industry, education and culture. It was also agreed to maintain frequent bilateral exchanges, including at the highest levels.
The prime minister informed Chairman Dzaferovic about the grave and systematic violations of human rights in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ & K) as well as the detrimental consequences of India’s unilateral and illegal actions on 05 August 2019 and the threat posed to peace and security in the region. The prime minister thanked the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina for his principled stance on this issue.
The Chair reiterated Bosnia and Herzegovina’s position regarding the dire situation at IOJ & K, stressing respect for human rights and the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
After the talks, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on scientific and technological cooperation and a re-acceptance agreement.
Sefik Dzaferovic extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. The prime minister accepted the invitation and said he hoped to visit Bosnia as soon as possible.