Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday emphasized the need for a genuine inter-civilizational dialogue and interfaith harmony to save billions of people from conflict, poverty, disease, and hunger.

Addressing a conference, the foreign minister said promotion of inter-faith harmony had assumed unparalleled significance in today’s polarized world characterized by extremism, supremacist ideologies, conflicts, and festering disputes.

The foreign minister said Pakistan was committed to sparing no effort to promote harmony and understanding between different religions, cultures, and civilizations.

He said the global Covid-19 pandemic was a wake-up call for all that had led to the realization that shunning conflicts and intolerance and promoting understanding and cooperation hold the key to the survival of mankind.

He mentioned that Pakistan was at the forefront of efforts to promote understanding of the deep veneration held by Muslims for their Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him).

He stressed that the West must not encourage or tolerate the abuse of freedom of expression to injure the sentiments of nearly two billion Muslims.

He said Islam firmly rejects notions of racial superiority and discrimination on the basis of caste and creed.

Despite malicious propaganda, he said, there was a growing realization in the world that Islam is a religion of peace that does not condone, encourage or promote terrorism or violent extremism.