Remarks by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the UNAOC Group of Friends Meeting (13 May 2013)

Thank you Mr. High Representative, Ambassador Al-Nasser, for convening this meeting. The Alliance is doing a great job under your outstanding leadership. We congratulate Mr. Mathew Hodes on his appointment as Director.

We thank the Governments of Turkey and Spain for their steadfast commitment and consistent support to the Alliance.

Pakistan is a strong supporter of the activities of the Alliance and sees it as a vehicle to promote the much needed dialogue and cooperation among religions, faiths and cultures.

In our national capacity, we have undertaken a range of activities to promote religious harmony. Pakistan has designated a national focal point for the Alliance. We will continue to participate in all its activities.

Excellency, we welcome your views on strengthening the Alliance of Civilizations and your priorities for the period 2013 to 2018 . We look forward to receiving the draft of the Strategic Plan.

The Alliance is a prefect platform to promote and protect freedom of religion, foster Media pluralism to ensure diversity of opinions, and to shape a new narrative for migration.

Freedom of expression is both a right and responsibility. This realization is crucial to counter stereotypes and to disempower racist ideologies. Full potential of youth must be developed through education and public space for promoting multiculturalism and interfaith harmony.

In this regard, implementation of actions at country level or through National Plans for Intercultural Dialogue is important.

Equally important are responsible leadership and effective decision-making to combat challenges of identity and cultural diversity.

The Alliance needs higher visibility and greater recognition. We are keen to hear your messages and your vision through the popular media.

The Alliance is important because it is a vehicle with the humanity to advance the purposes and principles of the Charter. It will save the world from the scourge of war.

In our times, primordial hatreds and divisions are raising their heads again.

Mendacious ideologues are imposing their insidious and criminal agenda on the globe, pitting neighbor against neighbor, nation against nation, civilization against civilization.

The Alliance is their antithesis. It is one big powerful response to this blighted philosophy.

The Alliance sees religions, cultures, and ethnic identities as part of the rich kaleidoscope of civilizations. Our civilizations flourish and prosper through harmony; they are seared by clash and conflict. Religions are a force for the good for mankind to promote peace and human dignity. We should allow them to be used for clash and conflict.

We agree with you that the world is alarmingly out of balance. The Alliance addresses this malady and strives to steer it towards social and spiritual equilibrium.

We are confident that under your inspiring leadership and with the help of all members, the Alliance will succeed in promoting interfaith and intercultural harmony.

I thank you.