PM proposes strategy at SCO forum to counter Covid-19
Prime Minister Imran Khan, at the platform of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, on Tuesday proposed a six-point strategy to galvanize joint efforts including setting up a knowledge bank to counter second wave of COVID-19, policies to mitigate pandemic’s economic impact and declaring vaccine a source of global good.
Addressing at the 20th Heads of State (SCO-CHS) meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council held through video conference, the Prime Minister termed exchange of knowledge among SCO countries significant to reduce the risks of virus, which he said continued to rage the world with 15 million affected and 2 million dead.
The heads of State and government from China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan addressed the SCO meeting.
He stressed that COVID-19 vaccine must be seen as a “global good” for the betterment of mankind rather than restricting it to a certain nations.
On other proposals, the Prime Minister called for a multi-year strategy on educational institutes, partnership on scholarships for youth in scientific fields, and also on public health and global economy.
Imran Khan lauded China’s effective handling of coronavirus and assistance rendered to countries including Pakistan. He said China and Pakistan were also collaborating in vaccine development, which was in phase three after human trials.
He mentioned that Pakistan’s policy of smart lockdown protected from the worst fallouts of pandemic, saving people both from virus and hunger.
He recalled his earlier proposal on debt relief for developing countries and welcomed the measures by G-20 countries to help create fiscal space to deal with aftereffects of pandemic.
Under SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and integration, he said, Pakistan and China were pursuing the Economic Corridor under Belt and Road Initiative.
He stressed upon equality and sovereignty of states, non-oppression, sanctity of borders and recognizing people’s right for self-determination and also strongly supported role of United Nations in securing peace and global development.
Imran Khan said peaceful solution to outstanding disputes was important to avert crisis in regional peace. As a shared responsibility, he said, Pakistan supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution that realized into the Doha peace deal.
He warned of the role of “spoilers, within and outside” who did not wish peace and stability to return to Afghanistan.
Imran Khan strongly supported China’s global data security initiative. He said as Pakistan fought terrorism as frontline state, it was against resurgence of extremist ideologies, racism, neo-Nazim and Islamophobia in the region and world over.
The Prime Minister also spoke on issues including climate change, widening inequality among nations, poverty, disease, hunger and illicit money flow to offshore accounts.
Pakistan, he said, had launched an ecosystem restoration initiative to plant 10 billion trees in next three years.
He said Pakistan firmly opposed illicit financial flows to impoverished nations restricting their development.
Russian President Putin as chair of the meeting said the SCO countries reached out to developing states in providing assistance to each other during the coronavirus pandemic. Sixty joint events of SCO were held by the chair Russia to share experiences on the spread of virus.
Putin called upon the SCO countries to stay united against the challenges of terrorism and fierce regional conflicts as the organization believed in facilitating political dialogue. He expressed Russia’s readiness to facilitate in developing a safe and drug-free Afghanistan.
Putin also stressed business cooperation, digital economy and energy security among SCO states.
Chinese President Xi Jinping in his address said trending towards peace and mutual development was need of the current situation as ‘multilateralism would win over unilateralism’.
Xi Jinping said SCO required to carry forward Shanghai Spirit and deepen cooperation for benefit of mankind.
On cooperation to fight COVID-19, Xi emphasized on global health security to counter the ‘virus without borders’ and called for refraining from politicizing the situation. He proposed hotline contacts among SCO countries to contain the situation in battle against coronavirus.
He said as joined COVAX, China would actively consider the need of SCO countries and stressed stability and security as the foremost pre-condition.
The Chinese president stressed non-interference in domestic affairs of SCO states, curbing drug proliferation, non-glorification of terrorists and need for practical solution to Afghan peace. He mentioned that China had launched global initiative on data security and welcomed participation of all countries for cyber security.
Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for finding collective solutions to address the issues of climate change, decline in global economy and tourism and bio-security. He stressed the need to make SCO fit for purpose and revitalize cooperation to fight separatism and extremism.
President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov said on 20th anniversary of SCO next year, it was important to officially implement trade potential of region.
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon spoke on mutually beneficial economic ties and short-term SCO measures to cope with socio-economic criris in the wake of COVID-19.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech focused on innovation and start-ups to collaborate among SCO states.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev shared his views on digital economy and proposed to create an SCO network of health facilities including protocols for treatment.
The SCO-CHS is the highest forum of SCO. It adopts documents and decisions that provide policy guidelines for determining priorities and major areas of activities of the Organization.
The 20th SCO-CHS will adopt 16 documents including Moscow Declaration reflecting member states’ stance on important regional and international issues.
The SCO’s major objectives include promoting mutual confidence and good-neighborly relations among member states, strengthening regional peace, security and stability, and creating a framework for effective cooperation in political, cultural, trade and economy, science and technology, education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields.
The SCO is an important forum for further enriching our deep rooted historical and cultural links with member states, providing these ties a sound economic foundation, and promoting Pakistan as a regional trade and transit corridor.
Since becoming a member in 2017, Pakistan has been actively contributing to the promotion SCO’s multi-sectoral agenda through participation in various SCO mechanisms.