Imran Yaqub Dhillon
Pakistan has urged the United Nations to step up its efforts aimed at promoting interfaith harmony, religious tolerance, pluralism and a culture of peace amid the proliferation of Islamophobia.
“The clash of cultures and religions is a growing reality in numerous countries and societies,” Dr. Mariam Shaikh, press counselor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN, said in a session of the UN Committee on Information, a subsidiary body of the General Assembly.
In her remarks, she exhorted the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC), which is dedicated to highlighting the world body’s ideals and its work, to increase its technical assistance for the development of communications infrastructures and capabilities in developing countries.
The Pakistani delegate also lauded DGC’s work in countering a traffic of lies, hate, and discrimination since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, and in filing the digital space with facts. “The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the crucial need for access to free, reliable, trustworthy, factual, multilingual and science-based information,” Ms. Shaikh said, while also underscoring the key role of free, independent, responsible and pluralistic media to enhance transparency, accountability and trust that is vital for collective efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
“Better international cooperation, based on solidarity and goodwill among countries, can contribute to achieving this goal.”
She said Pakistan’s drive to build its technological prowess was designed to leap frogging into new markets, developing a larger pool of human resource for reverse brain-drain, integrating the software technological infrastructure into modern technological base, promoting e-commerce, and strengthening the technological institutions.
In this regard, a number of steps have been taken to narrow the digital divide in the country. At the same time, the Pakistani delegate told the committee that the “vibrant, growing, and thriving”, media in Pakistan had also been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, with most newspapers reducing pages and some TV channels closing some of their field offices.