ISLAMABAD, Jan 18 (Asia Free Press): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed bilateral cooperation and challenges, appreciated President Vladimir Putin for his statement that disrespecting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) did not count as an expression of artistic freedom but a “violation of religious freedom,” according to media reports.
The prime minister said that he had been regularly highlighting the appalling rise in Islamophobia and associated hatred in his addresses to the UN General Assembly, pointing towards its serious ramifications.
Both leaders agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in different areas, increase high-level exchanges, and remain in close contact on matters relating to Afghanistan, where humanitarian crises hit high, APP reported.
Regarding Afghanistan’s current situation, Prime minister Khan underscored that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was pivotal for regional stability. Afghanistan was facing dire humanitarian and economic challenges, and support of the international community to the people of Afghanistan at this critical juncture remained vitally important.
PM Khan stressed the importance of the release of Afghanistan’s financial assets, which have been frozen by US authorities after mid-August 2021, for addressing the dire needs of the Afghan people.
“The two leaders warmly recalled their conversations during last year and exchanged views on bilateral cooperation as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest,” a press release comprised.
The prime minister underscored that Pakistan’s bilateral relationship with Russia was on an upward trajectory, with an increased focus on trade and economic ties and energy cooperation.
The prime minister invited President Putin to visit Pakistan to improve bilateral relations further and wished to visit Russia at an appropriate time.
Later, after the telephonic conversation, Khan tweeted on his official Twitter handle, “Just spoke to President Putin primarily to express my appreciation for his emphatic statement that freedom of speech could not be a pretext to abuse our Prophet PBUH. He is the first Western leader to show empathy & sensitivity to Muslim sentiment for their beloved Prophet PBUH”.