BISHKEK (KYRGYZSTAN): Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization to finalize arrangements for trade in local currencies.

Prime Minister address SCO summit

Prime Minister also expressed that set up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank to catalyze the trans-regional development agenda.

He was presenting his eight-pronged course of action for SCO on the turf of international politics at the 19th meeting of SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

The Prime Minister said we should also reinforce our vision of cooperation, that rejects confrontation. He said advance the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels.

Shanghai Spirit

He said the SCO member states should galvanize the “Shanghai Spirit” to strengthen the organization’s core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability.

Imran Khan said the SCO member states also need to synergize the various region-wide connectivity initiatives, and work on complementing infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity.

Promote Culture & Tourism

He also proposed setting up SCO Culture & Tourism Corridors, clustering multiple SCO destinations into a single package.

Imran Khan emphasized on making SCO more relevant to the daily lives of citizens by promoting food security and also enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.

He said SCO should take the lead role in establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white collar crime.

Prioritize Women & Youth

The Prime Minister said SCO should also prioritize women and youth empowerment by focusing inter-alia on strengthening the Women Forum. He said the Youth Council and mandating them to promote gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and jobs mobility.

He said SCO member countries also need to bridge the gap between region-specific research and policy by launching feasibility for creating SCO Centres of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.

South Asia Facing Challenges

The Prime Minister said South Asia continues to be challenged by common enemies: poverty, illiteracy, disease and under-development. 

He said political differences and also unresolved disputes further compound the predicament.

Imran Khan said enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia will also remain elusive until the main dynamic in South Asia is shifted from confrontation to cooperation. 

He said it is also important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavours for regional prosperity. 

Pakistan Condemns Terrorism

The Prime Minister said Pakistan also condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation.

He said we are also among the few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism.

He said Pakistan remains ready to share its experience and expertise in counter terrorism. We will also remain actively engaged in SCO’s counter-terrorism initiatives.

Afghan Peace Process

He is also referring to the Afghan issue, the Prime Minister said there is finally a realization that the conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution. 

He said Pakistan is also fully supporting efforts for peace and reconciliation, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. 

The Prime Minister said we deem this to be part of a shared responsibility and, therefore, also appreciate the positive contributions being made by China, Russia and Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours.  He said SCO’s also support for post-conflict Afghanistan will remain crucial.

Gulf & Middle East situation

He is expressing concern over evolving situation in the Gulf and Middle East, the Prime Minister said we also join the SCO members in urging the parties to exercise restraint, also take steps to de-escalate the situation, and find solutions through diplomatic means. 

He said we also believe implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by all parties is essential for international and regional stability.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan also provides the vital connectivity between the Middle East and China and Central and South Asia. These geographic proximity and also economic imperatives draw us closer to SCO.

Investment Destination

He said Pakistan is an attractive investment destination and also a large market endowed with a rich array of resources.

Imran Khan said Pakistan’s foreign policy outlook is also anchored on the inextricable link between peace and development.

He said we build partnerships based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and equal benefit. 

The Prime Minister said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of President Xi’s far-sighted Belt and Road Initiative, is also fast reaching fruition.

He said Gwadar Port, at its southern end, marks the only point of convergence of the maritime Belt and the overland Road.

He said CPEC is destined to catalyze the creation of an integrated pan-Asian sphere of shared prosperity.