Friday June 21, 2024

Shehbaz seeks SCO climate action plan specific to Pakistan

I earnestly appeal to all of you that let the SCO stand up and take steps against this devastation, says PM

By Agencies
September 17, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. —PID
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. —PID

SAMARKAND: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday called upon the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to come up with Pakistan-specific programmes on climate change, as the country faced devastating impact of the global natural phenomenon.

“This climatic injustice has been fallen us despite the fact that our carbon emission is less than one percent,” the prime minister said in his address at the heads of state meeting of the eight-member SCO in the historic city of Samarkand.

The prime minister’s call to the SCO members came in the wake of the recent flash floods in Pakistan that wreaked havoc with the livelihood and infrastructure across the country.

Shehbaz said Pakistan was braving the flood disaster where hill torrents and massive rains killed 1,400 people, including 400 children, while millions of houses were damaged partially or completely.

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

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s 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 neighboring 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. Shehbaz said Pakistan was firm in collective dedication to fight the menace of extremism, separatism and terrorism.

In fight against terrorism, he said, thousands of Pakistani civilians and armed forces laid down their lives for the security of their homeland. As, he said, Pakistan valued peace, progress and shared development of the country important for the region.

“We have to work together to support all good initiatives in Afghanistan for the good of the people of Afghanistan in areas, particularly education, health and human rights,” he said. Sharif said it would be a big mistake if he the world ignored Afghanistan.

Shehbaz said peace in Pakistan was linked with peace in the brotherly country of Afghanistan. He urged the SCO community to work towards unfreezing the assets of Afghanistan, and ensuring respect for human rights especially women and minorities.

The prime minister congratulated the Iranian president on the attainment of full membership of his country to the platform of SCO. The prime minister said Pakistan was firm in collective dedication to fight the menace of extremism, separatism and terrorism.

In fight against terrorism, he said, thousands of Pakistani civilians and armed forces laid down their lives for the security of their homeland. Shehbaz met Chinese President Xi Jinping wherein he appreciated the transformational impact of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Pakistan’s socio-economic development.

He also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to high quality development of CPEC. Both the leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and exchanged views on important regional and international issues of mutual interest.

This was the prime minister’s first meeting with the Chinese president since assuming office in April 2022.The interaction between the two leaders was marked by traditional warmth as well as exceptional mutual trust and understanding.

In his welcoming remarks, the Chinese president described Prime Minister Sharif as a person of pragmatism and efficiency. He also added that the prime minister was a leader with ‘a longstanding commitment to China-Pakistan friendship’.

Noting the enduring nature of China-Pakistan bilateral ties, the prime minister underlined that our ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ and iron-brotherhood had withstood the test of time.

He reaffirmed his personal resolve to take their bilateral relations to greater heights. The prime minister extended his best wishes to President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China for the forthcoming 20th CPC National Congress.

The prime minister thanked President Xi, the government and the people of China for the generous and timely support to the flood affected people in Pakistan. He said that the outpouring of sympathy and support from all quarters across China was touching and a true reflection of the ‘unique’ friendship between China and Pakistan.

He condoled with President Xi over the tragic loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Sichuan Province on September 5, 2022, emphasizing that the government and people of Pakistan stood with China in the face of this natural calamity.

The prime minister briefed President Xi on his government’s policies for Pakistan’s sustained growth, industrial development, agricultural modernization, and regional connectivity. The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s consistent and unwavering support to China on all issues of its core interest including Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

He also thanked the Chinese government for support extended to Pakistan for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, FATF, national development, COVID-19 pandemic and other areas. He highlighted the serious human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and thanked China for its principled stand on the dispute.

The two leaders reaffirmed their resolve to building the Pakistan-China Community for Shared Future in the New Era. The prime minister renewed his invitation to President Xi Jinping to undertake a state visit to Pakistan, underlining that the people of Pakistan were looking forward to accord a warm welcome to him.

Acknowledging the invitation, President Xi stated that he looked forward to Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China at an early date. Meanwhile, Pakistan and Kazakhstan Friday agreed for early finalization of bilateral Transit Trade Agreement and undertake expert-level studies to enhance cooperation in the energy sector.

The bilateral ties were discussed in a meeting between Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev here on the sidelines of the annual Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Both the leaders emphasized facilitating people-to-people contacts through liberalized visa policies to boost trade, educational links, and investments. They also exchanged views on key regional and international issues.

They affirmed the commitment to enhance Pakistan-Kazakhstan relations in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and transportation links. President Tokayev conveyed sympathies and condolences over the devastation caused by the unprecedented climate change induced floods in Pakistan.

The prime minister thanked the Kazakh president for the support and solidarity extended by Kazakhstan. He updated him about the colossal losses in terms of human lives and damage to crops, livestock and critical infrastructure, caused by climate change.

PM Shehbaz Sharif stressed the need for urgent global action to deal with the global threat. He underlined that Pakistan was committed to comprehensively upgrading engagement with the Central Asian countries through its ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy.

He particularly emphasized the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea. The prime minister highlighted the significance of trans-Afghan railway project connecting Uzbekistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan.

He expressed the desire to link up the existing Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway line to Pakistan. To promote regional integration, the two leaders also decided to enhance connectivity through land and air routes.

The prime minister also underscored the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community had to remain engaged to support the Afghan people, to address urgent humanitarian needs, and take steps to stabilize the economy.

Sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to the regional peace, connectivity and progress, he added. Both the leaders agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges.

The prime minister reiterated his invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. President Tokayev renewed his invitation to the prime minister for the next CICA Summit in Nur Sultan.

Meanwhile, the prime minister expressed his grief over the loss of 70 Azerbaijani troops in an unprovoked attack by Armenia and said Pakistan stands in solidarity with Azerbaijan’s right to defend its territorial integrity.

Shehbaz also met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of meeting and thanked him and the people of Turkiye for their solidarity and generous support in the wake of devastating floods in Pakistan caused by climate change.

He added that this support was reflective of the unique longstanding bonds between the two nations. The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the positive trajectory of bilateral relations in diverse areas.

Highlighting close fraternal ties between the two countries, the prime minister underscored the importance of various bilateral institutional mechanisms, particularly the high level Strategic Cooperation Council HLSCC which serves as the leadership level platform to provide strategic direction to this abiding partnership.