PM urges SCO community to work towards unfreezing Afghan assets

Says ignoring Afghanistan is a big mistake: Peace in Pakistan and region linked to stability in Afghanistan: Puts up Pakistan defence vis-a-vis climate compensation: Asks SCO to make Pakistan-specific climate action plans amid flood disaster: Says Pakistan not responsible for global warming but is bearing huge brunt: Says recent unusual heavy rains and floods incurred huge losses: 1,400 people including children dead, thousands of houses washed away: Putin hails 'new centres of power': Xi calls for 'just international order': Erdogan urges end to war in Ukraine

By: News Desk
Published: 09:58 AM, 16 Sep, 2022
PM urges SCO community to work towards unfreezing Afghan assets
Caption: TV grab.
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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that peace in Pakistan is linked with the peace in Afghanistan stressing the need to release the frozen assets of Kabul by the world powers, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The premier was addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at its Heads of State meeting held in the historic city of Samarkand on Friday.

PM Sharif along with leaders of the eight-member SCO attended the close-format Council of Heads of States at the Congress Centre, where he was welcomed by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

In his address, he highlighted Pakistan’s stance and perspective on regional cooperation, particularly in view of emerging global challenges.

He said that there would be a durable peace in the region if there was peace in Afghanistan. 

He urged the SCO community to work towards unfreezing the assets of Afghanistan, and ensuring respect for human rights especially women and minorities.

He emphasized that strengthening Afghanistan was vital in view the stability of the region, besides achieving the goals of the SCO.

He maintained that Pakistan had been the victim of terrorism and thousands of our men had died in war against terror.  

“The SCO member states should unitedly fight the terrorism,” he added. 

“As you know Pakistan is a neighbouring country of Afghanistan, and peace in Afghanistan will ensure peace in Pakistan,” he said.

“In other words, what is good for Afghanistan, is good for Pakistan and vice versa.”

He went on to say that the world would have to work together to support all “good initiatives” in Afghanistan. “Therefore, it will be a big mistake if we ignore Afghanistan this time around.”

Talking on the calamitous floods in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz said that the recent deluges wreaked havoc in the country on a gigantic scale. As many as 1,400 people including children have lost their lives, he said adding that thousands of houses washed away in torrents of flood. He said he had not seen destruction on such an epic scale in his entire life. 

He said millions of people were forced to live under the open sky as their homes were destroyed. Besides this, numerous water-borne and other infectious diseases have broken out in flood-hit areas, he added. 

The premier told the audience that this natural calamity was triggered by the climate change. He reiterated that Pakistan was not responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming. But the country has to bear this calamity caused by the climate change which triggered unusual heavy rains and melting of glaciers. 

This is injustice to Pakistan, the premier put up Pakistan’s defence for the climate compensation keeping in view the colossal loss the country has to bear. 

“This climatic injustice has befallen us despite the fact that our carbon emission is less than one percent,” he added. 

The prime minister called upon the member states of SCO to come up with Pakistan-specific programmes on climate change. 

“I earnestly appeal to all of you that let the SCO stand up and take steps against this devastation through sustainable programmes,” he said.

PM Sharif said the country never faced such level of climate-induced catastrophe in its history that inflicted disaster upon human lives, infrastructure, livestock and crops.

He stressed the dire need of assistance by the international community to help Pakistan overcome the problems in the wake of floods, including relief, rehabilitation and control of water-borne diseases.

“In view of the massive disaster, I would be very honest to urge this forum to extend assistance to Pakistan and chalk out plans regarding climate change for our future generations,” he said.

The premier reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm and unwavering commitment to achieving the goals of the SCO.

He expressed Pakistan’s commitment to join the SCO states in implementation of robust connectivity plans among the neighbouring regional countries.

“It will be a win-win outcome for all the member states. This is the time to act, and act now,” he stressed.

PM Sharif also welcomed the new entrants to the SCO including Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and other countries. 

The prime minister also congratulated the Iranian president on the attainment of full membership of his country to the platform of SCO

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attended the session.

Shehbaz had arrived in the historic city of Samarkand on a two-day visit on Thursday. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif are among the officials part of the Pakistani delegation.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is also scheduled to hold meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and President of Kazakhstan Kassym Jomart Tokayev.

On conclusion of his visit, Shehbaz will visit the mausoleum of Hazrat Imam Bokhari to pay his respects.

PM Shehbaz, Azerbaijan President discuss bilateral ties

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier Friday met with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of SCO-CHS Summit in Samarqand, Uzbekistan and discussed issues of bilateral interests.

The meeting between the two leaders which was held in the historic city of Samarkand focused on ways to strengthen relationship between the two countries in diverse fields.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and senior officials attended the meeting.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said that in his meetings with leaders of friendly countries, they agreed on enhancing trade & investment. He said that he explained to them the flood ravages due to climate change adding that food & energy shortages presented a real challenge to the shared development agenda.

Pakistan, Turkiye vow to boost multi-dimensional strategic ties 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also held a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of SCO Summit in Samarkand on Friday. 

Both the leaders decided to continue high-level exchanges to further enhance the multi-dimensional strategic relations between the two countries.

The Prime Minister extended his gratitude to President Erdogan and to the people of Turkiye for their solidarity and generous support in the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan, caused by climate change.

Highlighting close fraternal ties between the two countries, the Prime Minister underscored the importance of various bilateral institutional mechanisms, in particular the High-level Strategic Cooperation Council, which serves as the leadership-level platform to provide strategic direction to this abiding partnership. 

While welcoming the recent signing of “Trade in Goods” agreement between both countries, the Prime Minister expressed the confidence that optimal utilization of the agreement would boost bilateral trade and act as a catalyst in further cementing bilateral economic and investment relations.

Putin hails 'new centres of power'

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the growing influence of "new centres of power" on Friday at a summit with Asian leaders including China's Xi Jinping.

"The growing role of new centres of power who cooperate with each other... is becoming more and more clear," Putin told the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in ex-Soviet Uzbekistan.

"We are open to cooperation with the entire world," Putin said.

"Our policy is devoid of any selfishness. We hope others... will carry out their policies according to the same principles, and will stop using the instruments of protectionism, illegal sanctions and economic selfishness," Putin said.

The summit has brought together Putin and Xi with the leaders of several Asian countries including India and Pakistan, as Russia looks to show it has not been fully isolated by the conflict in Ukraine.

Xi calls for 'international order in a more just and rational direction'

China's President Xi Jinping on Friday called for regional countries to reshape the international order at a summit in Uzbekistan touted as a challenge to Western global influence.

Leaders should "work together to promote the development of the international order in a more just and rational direction", Xi said at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation including the leaders of Russia, Iran and central Asian countries.

The SCO -- made up of China, India, Pakistan, Russia and the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- was set up in 2001 as a political, economic and security organisation to rival Western institutions.

Xi told the summit that members should "abandon zero-sum games and bloc politics," as well as "uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core."

Erdogan urges end to war in Ukraine 'as soon as possible'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday told a regional summit attended by Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he wanted the war in Ukraine to end "as soon as possible".

Erdogan has been trying to use his good working relations with Moscow to try and persuade Putin to hold direct ceasefire talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Turkey.

He told a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in ex-Soviet Uzbekistan that Turkey was making diplomatic efforts to end the war.

"We are making efforts to finalise the conflict in Ukraine through diplomacy as soon as possible," Erdogan said.

Erdogan also echoed Putin's concern that grain shipped out of Ukraine under a UN and Turkish-brokered agreement was not reaching enough developing countries.

"We are making sincere efforts to deliver the grain to those who need it most, especially our brothers and sisters in Africa," Erdogan said.

Erdogan was due to hold a private meeting with Putin on the sidelines of the Samarkand summit later Friday.

NATO member Turkey has been supplying weapons to Ukraine while trying to boost trade with Russia during the war.

Erdogan argues that this "balanced" position is required because of Turkey's heavy dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Reporter Awais Kiyani

With inputs from Agencies