Paris 13th November 2019. Mr. Shafqat Mahmood Federal Minister for Education and Special Training is delivering country statement at the General Policy Debate at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris today. The Ambassador of Pakistan to France Mr. Moin ul Haque was present on the occasion.

Paris (PR) 13th November 2019. Mr. Shafqat Mahmood Minister for Federal Education and Special Training has called upon UNESCO to use its moral authority to persuade Indian Government to lift restrictions and restore the fundamental rights of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

This was stated by the Minister while delivering his country statement at the General Policy Debate of the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris today. Ambassador of Pakistan to France and Permanent Delegate of Pakistan to UNESCO Moin ul Haque also attended the session.

The Minister observed that as opposed to the UNESCO’s objectives of universal respect for justice and rule of law and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms, over eight million Kashmiris have been locked down under a curfew since 100 days with no access to basic amenities and means of communication. At least 1.5 million Kashmiri students were not able to attend schools since the unilateral and illegal revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy by India on 5th August.

He said that Kashmir remains an internationally recognized disputed area under UN Security Council resolutions and stressed that UNESCO and the international community must raise their voice for its just resolution.

Minister also expressed dismay at the Indian Supreme Court’s decision regarding Babri Mosque stating that it was not in line with UNESCO’s values of religious freedom & protection of religious and cultural sites.

Recalling the recent inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan, the Minister said that this was a testimony of Pakistan’s commitment to interfaith harmony and promoting peace in the region.

While reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to UNESCO’s mandate, the Minister said that current government is taking concrete steps to deliver universal quality and equitable education with focus on four key priorities; a uniform Education System, enrollment of Out of School Children, Teacher Quality Enhancement and Technical and Vocational Training.

He said that Pakistan in partnership with UNESCO was providing annual Masters and Ph. D scholarships to the students from Small Island and Developing States, and has also provided grant of US dollar 10 million to UNESCO’s Girls Right to Education Fund.

UNESCO’s 193 Member States and ten Associate Members have gathered in Paris from 12th to 27th November 2019 for UNESCO’s General Conference which had become the world’s laboratory of ideas for new multilateral approaches to range of pressing issues ranging from higher education and cultural heritage to artificial intelligence.