TASHKENT: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar Thursday strongly denounced Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and equated its atrocities with those of Pharaoh, particularly due to their impact on innocent children.
Addressing the 16th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), he urged the member countries to rally efforts to hold Israel to account for its incessant and lethal bombing of the Palestinian people.
In his wide-ranging address, Kakar raised the issue of the Gaza humanitarian crisis twice and reiterated condemnation of the killing of children and women and targeting hospitals by the Israeli forces. “With the elimination of children, I recall in the history when Pharaoh, on Holy Prophet Moses’ birth, killed children. And now, unfortunately, the people who claim to be the followers of Moses, are following the path of Pharaoh,” he remarked.
Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz, and Caretaker Communications Minister Shahid Ashraf Tarar accompanied the prime minister at the summit held at the Tashkent Convention Center here.
The caretaker premier said the incessant and lethal Israeli bombardment of Gaza was a deplorable act calling for international condemnation. He said the situation needed to be addressed as per the resolutions of OIC and the United Nations Security Council. He urged the member countries to push for a ceasefire and support the call to provide humanitarian aid, besides rallying efforts to hold Israel to account.
He urged the participating countries and international community to work for a humanitarian corridor so that the unfortunate and defenceless people of Palestine could be helped out.
Kakar also apprised the regional leaders of the unabated Indian atrocities in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and emphasised the ECO countries to support Kashmiris in achieving their right to self-determination. He also touched upon the issues of intolerance, violence and xenophobia, and called upon the ECO members and international community to work for building legal deterrence against Islamophobia while maintaining mutual respect, harmony and co-existence.
Reiterating Pakistan’s commitment to the ECO Vision 2025, he called for collective efforts and accelerated reforms to achieve the Organisation’s objectives and region’s trade potential for bringing “colossal” economic and peace dividends.
“Let us make ECO an organisation, not just of words, but actions, not just commitments but implementation. It is crucial for us to work collectively and diligently to realise the goals and objectives of the Organisation. Our region, if well-connected, can bring colossal economic and peace dividends for our people,” the prime minister said.
Kakar said being blessed with natural resources, geographical linkages and cultural heritage, the ECO region had been unable to exploit its true trade potential, as it had just two percent share in the global trade and eight percent in intraregional trade. He said in 2022, trade within the ECO region was recorded at $39 billion against $577 billion with the world and the intra-region exports also stood at $46 billion. He said the ECO Vision 2025, which was adopted by the 13th ECO Summit in Islamabad, had called for increasing regional trade, strengthening connectivity, operationalizing major transport corridors and seeking energy security.
Calling for deliberations to expand share in the global and intra-region trade, the caretaker prime minister emphasised reducing barriers, developing infrastructure and formulating environment-friendly and sustainable policies, besides reducing poverty.
Kakar supported the ECO’s corridor-based approach like Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran, Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul, Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran and others, and said the integrated transport projects would help promote trade and connectivity. The prime minister returned home after completing his two-day official visit to Uzbekistan.
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