Pakistan willing to engage with India for conflict resolution: PM Shehbaz

Says Islamabad ‘absolutely ready’ for talks with Delhi on trade and investment: Stable Afghanistan in Pakistan’s interest: Calls for urgent help for rehabilitation of 33 million climate refugees: Addresses CICA Summit in Astana

By: News Desk
Published: 11:09 AM, 13 Oct, 2022
Pakistan willing to engage with India for conflict resolution: PM Shehbaz
Caption: TV grab.
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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has strongly favoured peaceful dialogue in resolving conflicts with other countries, including the neighbouring India, in a bid to achieve the goals of prosperity and progress of the region.

Delivering his speech at the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Thursday, he said Pakistan desired peaceful relations with all its neighbours including India.

“We are willing to engage with India for the sake of prosperity and development as both sides of the border cannot afford to deal with massive challenges of poverty and unemployment amid meagre resources,” he said.

The prime minister’s speech focused on peace among nations to hit the goal of prosperity as he addressed the leaders of the multinational forum, gathered to discuss cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

PM Sharif stressed that the people deserved the resources to be diverted to their education and health.

“I want to leave behind a legacy of peace and progress for the prosperity of the coming generations of our region,” he said. “Pakistan’s first priority at the moment is to revive rapid and equitable economy”.

He, however, said, the “onus remains on India to take a necessary step to engage towards the result-oriented solutions.”.

PM Sharif highlighted India’s unabated atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir for last seven decades, where he said, that the Kashmiris faced continued denial of their right to self-determination.

He urged other countries to take notice of India’s ‘bullet over ballot’ policy as it blatantly quashed the United Nations Security Council’s resolution on holding a plebiscite in Kashmir. “India has become a threat to its minorities, neighbours and the entire region,” he said.

Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan was “absolutely ready and willing for a discussion with Indian counterparts to promote trade and investment provided they showed the sincerity of purpose”.

On Afghanistan, Shehbaz said the four decades of conflict not only took a heavy toll on the country but also upon its neighbouring Pakistan, which suffered immense damage to its peace and security with serious consequences borne in shape of 80,000 casualties and billions of dollars financial losses.

Shehbaz expressed satisfaction that after immense sacrifices, Pakistan had now become able to control extremism and terrorism on its soil besides managing to host four million Afghan refugees. “Prosperous and stable Afghanistan is not only in the interest of Pakistan, but also for the international community,” he said.

The PM called for pooling resources among the regional countries to address the common challenges in the interest of peace and progress. “If we team up our resources, Asia can stand with pride and achievement,” he said. “Through constructive dialogue, we can build mutual trust”.

He mentioned Pakistan’s location offering a natural bridge among various economies of the region. In this regard, he highlighted the multi-billion-dollar project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which had transformed the economic and connectivity landscape of the region.

He also invited the CICA member states to consider benefiting from the trade, investment and business opportunities offered by Pakistan.

On recent floods in Pakistan, the prime minister pointed out that the country was bearing the brunt of climate change despite its less than one percent carbon omissions. He thanked the countries that stepped forward in extending assistance to Pakistan to carry out the relief and rehabilitation activities in the flood-affected areas.

He also termed encouraging the upscale $816 million flash appeal by the United Nations launched to meet the daunting challenge of heavy losses incurred by flash floods.

The prime minister expressed confidence that Pakistan was “determined and committed” to emerge stronger after the flood disaster. “Pakistan, with the support of its people and the friendly countries, will come out of this problem,” he said.

Shehbaz said Pakistan needs immediate help to rehabilitate its 33 million climate refugees affected by the recent devastating rains and floods. He said Pakistan is living through a colossal climate-induced situation. He said unprecedented rains and flooding that have submerged one-third of Pakistan are without any doubt the consequence of global warming and climate change.

The prime minister said according to initial estimates the calamity has caused a loss to the tune of over 30 billion dollars. He said the government has marshalled all the resources at its disposal for the rescue, relief and rehabilitation.

Shehbaz said though Pakistan is responsible for less than one percent of global carbon emissions yet we are amongst the ten top countries most severely impacted by climate change.

Expressing his gratitude to the countries who extended support to the flood-affected people, Shehbaz said Pakistan looks forward to their continued support as the country transitions to the more daunting phase of reconstruction and rehabilitation.

He said Pakistan is determined to emerge stronger from these floods in a short period of time.

The prime minister in his speech deliberated upon the Palestine dispute, stressing a peaceful way of its resolution for ensuring peace in the Middle East and the region.