Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit: President Mamnoon Hussain unveils a five-point roadmap to achieve durable peace in the region
Islamabad, June 10, 2018 (PPI-OT): President Mamnoon Hussain Saturday unveiled at Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit a five-point roadmap to achieve durable peace, development and stability in the region through enhanced connectivity, shared prosperity, trade and people to people contacts. He was addressing the plenary session of the 18th Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of Shanghai Cooperation Organization held here at Qingdao International Conference Centre which was attended by heads of states of eight member countries and observer states and representatives from international organizations.
Spelling out the roadmap of priorities, the president said trust building was pivotal to achieve lasting peace and stability in the region, besides helping generate economic activity and enhance regional trade. He viewed that the development projects should not be viewed though a myopic geopolitical angle. He said the countries should wholeheartedly support all regional development and connectivity projects including the Belt and Road Initiative and its flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
By resolutely following the guiding principles of Shanghai Spirit of shared development and prosperity, the SCO countries should strive to alleviate poverty, support weaker economies of the region and combat terrorism and extremism. SCO Development Bank and Fund could contribute to this endeavour, he added. President Mamnoon told the summit that SCO Business Council would help promote business-to-business contacts in various sectors. Similarly, they should explore the possibility of introducing a SCO visa regime for businessmen, he added.
Moreover, the president said the SCO states should initiate special programs for skill development of youth and take concrete steps for promoting meaningful people-to-people contacts especially among the youth. He told the international gathering that the improvement of law and order situation in Pakistan over the past few years had provided a secure environment for investment and business. Contrary to the global economic trends, he said, Pakistan’s economy had achieved great economic successes resulting in energy production and highest GDP growth rate of last decade this year. He said the international financial institutions had noted this positive performance. Similarly, our agriculture and services sectors has shown robust growth.
Pakistan has been ranked first in the region and fifth at the global level as a destination for private investment in infrastructure development. President Mamnoon told the summit that peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared concern of SCO member states. “We believe this is only possible through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. The reactivation of SCO’s Contact Group of Afghanistan is a welcome step,” he remarked. For its best, Pakistan would continue to lend full support for promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan had welcomed President Ghani’s announcement of ceasefire and initiative of unconditional offer for peace talks to the Taliban. “I am pleased to inform that Pakistan has embarked on a bilateral Action Plan for Peace, Security and Stability with Afghanistan.
We hope that these efforts will bear fruits and contribute to peace in Afghanistan,” the president said. He said the SCO’s regional Anti-terrorism structure was an expression of their concerns on extremism and terrorism and Pakistan was ready to share its experiences of successful counter terrorism campaign with SCO states. Highlighting the issue of drug trafficking, the president believed that the adoption of the decisions on this issue at today’s summit was a great achievement and its implementation would contribute to our efforts to control the menace of illicit drugs in the region.
Thanking the Chinese people, government and President Xi Jinping for organizing the multi-purpose summit, the president said in order to mark this momentous occasion, Pakistan had issued a special commemorative postage stamp. He said SCO occupied a unique place among international organizations established for regional security and prosperity. “Within a short span, it has become a platform for exemplary inter-state and people-to-people cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, regional security, connectivity and sustainable development,” the president commented.
He said Pakistan had been successful in meeting the Memorandum of Obligations to SCO in a timely manner. He said Pakistan’s strategic location, access to the Indian Ocean and huge consumer market has further enhanced these opportunities. “Our success has been bolstered by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, participation in Central Asian regional connectivity projects like TAPI and CASA 1000 and the upward trajectory in our growth rate will continue,” he remarked. Besides adopting the “Vision 2025” which sets framework for progress in all sectors of the economy, the president said the government was developing nine industrial zones in different areas of Pakistan to enhance industrial productivity and provide economic stability.
He said in the past few years democratic institutions and values had strengthened in Pakistan. “These days the nation is in electoral process. We hope that completion of this process will further enhance political and economic stability which will have a positive impact on the region,” he said.He believed that the historically rich SCO nations would stand shoulder to shoulder against contemporary global challenges and Pakistan would continue to play its role for regional peace and prosperity.
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