BISHKEK: Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on Friday said that enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will remain elusive until the main dynamic in South Asia is shifted from confrontation to cooperation.
He was addressing the 19th meeting of SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The PM said South Asia continues to be challenged by common enemies, including poverty, illiteracy, disease and under-development. He said political differences and unresolved disputes further compound the predicament.
Imran Khan said it is important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavours for regional prosperity.
The premier said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. He said we are among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism.
He said Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives.
Referring to the Afghan issue, the Prime Minister said there is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. He said Pakistan is fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process.
The prime minister said we deem this to be part of a shared responsibility and, therefore, appreciate the positive contributions being made by China, Russia and Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours. He said SCO’s support for post-conflict Afghanistan will remain crucial.
Expressing concern over evolving situation in the Gulf and Middle East, the Prime Minister said we join the SCO members in urging the parties to exercise restraint, take steps to de-escalate the situation, and find solutions through diplomatic means.
He said we believe implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by all parties is essential for international and regional stability. The premier presented eight-pronged course of action for SCO on the turf of international politics.
He said we should reinforce our vision of cooperation, that rejects confrontation, and advance the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels; galvanize the “Shanghai Spirit” to strengthen SCO’s core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability; and finalize arrangements for trade in local currencies, and set up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank to catalyze the trans-regional development agenda.
Imran Khan said the SCO member states need to synergize the various region-wide connectivity initiatives, and work on complementing infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity and make SCO more relevant to the daily lives of citizens by promoting food security and enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.
He said SCO should take the lead role in establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white collar crime; prioritize women and youth empowerment by focusing inter-alia on strengthening the Women Forum and the Youth Council and mandating them to promote gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and jobs mobility; and bridge the gap between region-specific research and policy by launching feasibilities for creating SCO Centers of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.