The prime minister’s statement came during his address to the 23rd meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State (CHS), being virtually hosted by India under the chair of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The premier, during the address, noted that SCO members have a shared interest in ensuring peace and stability in the region, a precondition for economic development anywhere in the worl
“The hydra-headed monster of terrorism and extremism, whether committed by individuals, societies, or states, must be fought with full vigour and conviction,” the premier said.
“Any temptation to use [terrorism] for diplomatic point-scoring must be avoided under all circumstances. Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, must be condemned in clear and unambiguous terms.”
PM Shehbaz noted that there could be no justification for killing innocent people, regardless of the cause or pretext.
“Similarly, religious minorities should never be demonised in the pursuit of domestic, political agendas,” he said.
PM Shehbaz noted that Pakistan had made numerous sacrifices to combat terrorism, adding that the menace of militancy plagues the region and is a major obstacle to achieving peace.
“SCO countries must take concerted and immediate actions […] against terrorism, extremism, and separatism,” the prime minister said, noting that it was the responsibility of all member states.
‘CPEC game changer for region’
The premier began by thanking India for its stewardship of the regional body this year.
PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan holds a unique geographical status in central Asia.
Shedding light on the importance of the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said that the partnership between the two nations can be a “game changer” for the entire region.
He told the members of the meeting that special economic zones are being developed in Pakistan under the CPEC.
Terrorism and Afghanistan
In his address, the premier also highlighted the lingering issue of Afghanistan.
“International community finds itself in a standstill on Afghanistan,” the PM said, urging the stakeholders to continue their support to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.
He said that the “critical support” needed by Afghanistan had been withheld and the matter needed review.
He also urged the interim government in Afghanistan led by the Taliban, to take concrete measures to show its soil is not used for “militant activity”.
SCO should join hands to fight terrorism: Modi
Earlier, Indian PM Modi said in his address that the SCO should join hands to fight terrorism and not hesitate to condemn countries that support terror.
Modi also urged leaders of the Eurasian political and security grouping to work for the welfare of Afghanistan and provide humanitarian aid to Kabul.
Afghan soil, Modi told the virtual summit of SCO leaders, should not be allowed to be used to destabilise its neighbourhood.
Russia, China and Pakistan are among the other countries attending the meeting.