DUSHANBE (Tajikistan): Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday called upon the regional countries to “resist any drift towards bloc politics” and stressed pursuing the approach of peaceful coexistence.
“Peaceful coexistence and cooperation – not confrontation, should be the main drivers of global politics,” he said in his address at the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Heads of State meeting, held in the capital of Tajikistan.
The summit gathered the Presidents of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, leaders of observer states, foreign ministers, and heads of international and regional organizations.
Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary-General and Jumakhon Giyasov, Director Executive Committee of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure were also present. He said addressing the threats to international and regional peace and security was a vital interest for SCO.
He said the fight against terror would not be won if such threats and challenges were ignored, with state terrorism being the biggest one, perpetrated against people living under foreign occupation in disputed territories.
“In some cases, such extremist and bigoted ideologies have ascended to capture the state power in so-called democracies,” he said.
Imran Khan said Pakistan believed that faithfully implementing UN Security Council resolutions for peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes was a necessary condition for peace, and indispensable for creating an environment of cooperation.
The Prime Minister said “associating one religion with terrorism has enabled far-right, populist and supremacist groups around the world to propagate, multiply and accumulate influence.”
“For decades Pakistan has suffered from terrorism that was planned, supported, financed and orchestrated by state entities from across our border.”
Outside the active zones of conflict, no other country has suffered more than Pakistan, Imran Khan said,.
“We have suffered over 80,000 casualties and economic losses in excess of U.S. $150 billion. Yet, our resolve remains strong. We will continue to be a reliable and willing partner of the international community in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” Khan told the top gathering of the regional countries.
The Prime Minister said unilateral and illegal measures to change the status of disputed territories in violation of Security Council resolutions run counter to this objective.
Such measures, he said, must be condemned and opposed firmly for being in violation of the SCO Charter and its well-established principles of inter-state relations.
Imran Khan Afghanistan was, rightfully, the focus of attention in view of the recent developments. He said the sudden change of the previous government which surprised everyone; the takeover by the Taliban, and the full withdrawal of foreign forces, has established a new reality in Afghanistan.
He said it was a matter of relief that all this happened without bloodshed, without civil war, and without mass exodus of refugees.
“It is now in the international community’s collective interest to ensure that there is no renewed conflict in Afghanistan and the security situation is stabilized.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan stressing equally urgent priorities to prevent a humanitarian crisis and an economic meltdown in Afghanistan said “We must remember that the previous government depended heavily on foreign aid and its removal could lead to economic collapse,” and added, “this is a moment to stand by the Afghan people, firmly and unequivocally.”
Imran Khan commended the UN Secretary-General and UN agencies for leading from the front in mobilizing international support for the immediately needed humanitarian assistance.
He said apart from helping in the international evacuation efforts, Pakistan has extended all possible support in the provision and facilitation of humanitarian relief.
“We believe positive engagement of the international community with Afghanistan is extremely important … There is a rare opportunity to finally end the 40 years of war in Afghanistan; this moment should not be squandered,” Imran Khan stressed.
He said it would be unwise at this critical juncture to spread negativity, or indulge in mischievous propaganda, as some spoilers have sought to do, and pointed that it would only serve to undermine the prospects for peace, to the detriment of the Afghan people.
He said the Taliban, on their part, must fulfil the pledges made above all for an inclusive political structure where all ethnic groups are represented.
This, he pointed was vital for Afghanistan’s stability and also important to ensure respect for the rights of all Afghans, and ensure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terrorists.
As a country that has continuously suffered from the spill-over of conflict and instability in Afghanistan, and borne the burden of nearly four million refugees for 40 years, Pakistan has an abiding interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
Imran Khan said the history of Afghanistan bears witness to the fact that the country values its sovereignty and cannot be controlled from the outside.
“We will continue to support a stable, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan.”