Pakistan ready to work with SCO to reinforce Afghan peace efforts: FM

DUSHANBE: Group photo of heads of delegation from SCO Member States with the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, here Wednesday. - PID photo

DUSHANBE: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has called for developing greater connectivity amongst the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states to unlock the geo-economic potential of the region.
Addressing a meeting of the Council of SCO Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe, the foreign minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), supplements SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic integration.
The foreign minister said the SCO needs to focus on collective economic development that intertwines with our national Sustainable Development Goals. “Our agencies dealing with achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must meet at least once a year and share experiences and best practices in a spirit of cooperation and shared progress.”
Qureshi said, “We need to create the necessary linkages between CEOs and entrepreneurs of SCO member states to promote business partnerships.” He said that empowerment of women in different walks of life is a shared objective within SCO. Contributing towards this goal, he said, the SCO Women Entrepreneurs Forum be established.
Turning to situation in Afghanistan, the foreign minister said that Pakistan stands ready to working with SCO member states in reinforcing efforts for sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan has played its part in facilitating the peace process aimed at forging a comprehensive, broad based and inclusive, negotiated political solution that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
He said the unfolding situation in the wake of withdrawal of US and NATO troops and in the absence of a peace deal is a matter of serious concern. The rise in violence in recent weeks has exacerbated an already volatile situation. A spectre of chaos and escalated conflict looms large that would also give space to the ‘spoilers’ who wish to see the reign of instability in Afghanistan and the region.
He said, “We call upon all Afghan parties to engage constructively and work for a negotiated political solution.” He emphasised the need for addressing root causes of terrorism and extremism.
Regarding challenges posed by Covid-19, Shah Mahmood Qureshi called for collective efforts to combat the wide-ranging effects of the pandemic.
Separately, talking to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the Council of SCO Foreign Ministers in Dushanbe on Wednesday, Qureshi said that Pakistan-China relations provide the foundation of peace, stability, and prosperity in the world.
He said progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has been continuing at a fast pace, despite difficulties in wake of Covid-19. He apprised his Chinese counterpart about Pakistan’s efforts for a political settlement of Afghan conflict. He said all the Afghan stakeholders should jointly work for an inclusive, broad-based, and a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan.
Qureshi also informed Wang Yi about gross human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). He said that resolution of the Kashmir dispute in light of UN Resolutions is vital for durable peace in South Asia. – TLT