Taliban should satisfy promises made in Afghanistan, says PM at SCO summit


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that the Taliban must fulfill the guarantees they need to be made in Afghanistan and called on the international community to face the people of the war-torn country.

The premier expressed these views while addressing the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and knowledge Minister Fawad Chaudhry were also present alongside the premier.

“The Taliban must fulfill the pledges made, in particular for an inclusive political structure where all ethnic groups are represented. this is often vital for Afghanistan’s stability,” he said.

The prime minister said that it had been also important to make sure respect for the rights of all Afghans while ensuring that it’s nevermore a secure haven for terrorists.

He said that Pakistan, which had suffered thanks to the spillover of conflict and instability within the neighboring country, had an interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

“We will still support a stable, sovereign, and prosperous Afghanistan,” he said.

Commenting on things in Afghanistan, PM Imran said that a “new reality” had been established after the Taliban takeover and withdrawal of foreign troops.

“That all this happened bloodlessly, without war, and without a mass exodus of refugees, should be a matter of relief.

“It is now within the international community’s collective interest to make sure that there’s no renewed conflict in Afghanistan and therefore the security situation is stabilized.”

The prime minister said that preventing a humanitarian crisis and an economic meltdown were “equally urgent priorities”.

“We must remember that the previous government depended heavily on aid and its removal could lead to economic collapse,” he said, adding that now was the instant to face with the Afghans “firmly and unequivocally”.

He commended the United Nations Secretary-General and UN agencies for mobilizing support for humanitarian assistance and said that Pakistan was also playing its part in aiding evacuation efforts and providing support.

“Going forward, we believe positive engagement of the international community with Afghanistan is extremely important.

“There may be a rare opportunity to finally end the 40 years of war in Afghanistan. This moment shouldn’t be squandered,” he said.

He said that it might be unwise to spread negativity or enjoys propaganda at this critical juncture. “This will only serve to undermine the prospects for peace.”

‘Threats posed by terrorism still exist’
PM Imran said that because the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks within the US, it had been reminded that threats posed by terrorism still persist despite the international community’s best efforts.

“Associating one religion with terrorism has enabled far-right, populist, and supremacist groups around the world to propagate, multiply and accumulate influence.

“In some cases, such extremist and bigoted ideologies have ascended to capture the state power in so-called democracies.

“The fight against terror wouldn’t be won if we ignore these threats and challenges — the most important of which is state terrorism, perpetrated against people living under foreign occupation in disputed territories,” he said.

He highlighted that Pakistan had suffered for many years thanks to terrorism that was “planned, supported, financed and orchestrated by state entities from across our border”.

“Outside active zones of conflict, no other country has suffered quite Pakistan. we’ve suffered over 80,000 casualties and economic losses in more than $150 billion.

“Yet, our resolve remains strong. we’ll still be a reliable and willing partner of the international community within the fight against terrorism and extremism,” he said.

PM Imran said that addressing threats to international and regional peace was a subject of important interest for the SCO.

“We believe that implementation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions for the peaceful settlement of outstanding disputes may be a necessary condition for peace, and indispensable for creating an environment of cooperation.

“Unilateral and illegal measures to vary the status of disputed territories in violation of UNSC resolutions run counter to the present objective.”

He said that such measures must be condemned and opposed firmly.

Shift to geoeconomics
The premier also highlighted that sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan will ultimately benefit the region, adding that the govt had shifted its focus from geopolitics to geoeconomics.

“Our new economic security paradigm has three central pillars: peace, development partnerships, and connectivity.”

He said that Pakistan offered the shortest route to the ocean for several of its partners in Central Asia, and commended the Uzbekistan president for hosting a conference on regional connectivity in Tashkent last July.

“There is not any doubt that the online rail, road, sea, and air links across the SCO region will inaugurate a replacement era of enhanced trade, energy flows, and people-to-people exchanges.

“This hard and soft connectivity will contribute significantly to progress and prosperity within the region and beyond,” he said, adding that these linkages are going to be reinforced by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Way forward
The premier proposed a five-point way forward at the SCO summit.

He called on regional states to reaffirm support for effective multilateralism and therefore the principles of the UN Charter, including equality and sovereignty of states and peoples’ right for self-determination.

“We must also strengthen our collective endeavors to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, including through the SCO Joint Advisory measures.”

He also involved charting out a coordinated approach for stabilizing things in Afghanistan through enhanced engagement and humanitarian support.

“We must also advance the agenda of regional connectivity. during this regard, taking the method forward, Pakistan would really like to host a conference on the theme ‘Transport Connectivity for Regional Prosperity in a virtual mode in 2022,” he said.

Lastly, we must recognize the potential of our youth and explore all possible avenues for his or her empowerment, he concluded.

Upon arriving at the Nauroz Palace, the venue of the SCO meeting, the prime minister was warmly received by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon.

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