Close this search box.
Close this search box.

PM reaffirms Pakistan’s firm support for shared dreams of peace in SCO region

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering support and commitment to address common challenges and realize the shared dreams of peace, prosperity, stability and enhanced connectivity in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) region. Addressing the 23rd meeting of SCO Council of Heads of State through video link on Tuesday, he asked the SCO countries to take concerted and immediate actions both in their national capacities as well as collectively to combat the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

He stressed that terrorism and extremism whether committed by individuals, societies or states must be fought with full vigor and conviction. Shehbaz Sharif said terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including state terrorism must be condemned in clear and unambiguous terms. He said there can be no justification for the killing of innocent people. Similarly, religious minorities should never be demonized in the pursuit of domestic political agendas.

The Prime Minister said fundamental rights and freedoms must be guaranteed to all including those under occupation. He said peace and communal harmony should replace violent ultra-nationalism and xenophobic ideologies especially Islamophobia. He said we should resolutely oppose divisive policies based on prejudice and discrimination. There should be no place for the wilful provocations and incitement to hatred especially on religious grounds.

Shehbaz Sharif pointed out that the SCO stands for observance of the UN principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and people’s right to self-determination. We must ensure these universally recognized principles within the SCO borders for friendly relations amongst the nations. He said the UN Security Council resolutions offer us a workable framework for the resolution of some longstanding disputes in the region. These must be addressed to immediately and settled amicably before it is too late.

Highlighting the significance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan to unlock the true economic potential of the SCO region, the Prime Minister said the international community should meaningfully engage with the interim Afghan government. He said concrete measures should also be taken by the interim Afghan government to ensure that its soil is not used for terrorism by any entity. Referring to the threat posed by Climate Change to humanity’s survival, the Prime Minister urged the developed world to deliver on their assurances and provide enhanced support to the developing countries in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.

He said climate change demands global solidarity and a global response. It is time to act and we must act now and immediately. Emphasizing on investing in connectivity projects, the Prime Minister said building efficient transport corridors and reliable supply chains are crucial elements to achieve the shared vision of an economically integrated region.

Shehbaz Sharif said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be a game changer for connectivity, stability, peace and prosperity in this entire region. He said Pakistan’s location serves as a natural bridge connecting Europe and Central Asia with China, South Asia and the Middle East. He said special economic zones being set up under the CPEC framework have direct access to our ports which can serve as convenient conduits for regional trade promotion. He said Pakistan plans to host the SCO conference on Transport Connectivity for Regional Prosperity in the last quarter of current year.

The Prime Minister also stressed greater collaboration for poverty alleviation. He said the special working group on poverty alleviation proposed by Pakistan has become operational, expressing the confidence that it will provide an impetus to our collective efforts to eliminate poverty and improve the living standards of the people.

At the outset, the Prime Minister felicitated Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Iran’s accession to SCO as a full member, expressing the confidence that its inclusion will immensely benefit the organization. He said we also look forward to welcoming Belarus as a full member at the next summit. The Prime Minister congratulated Bahrain, Kuwait, Maldives, Myanmar and UAE on their accession as new dialogue partners.