Peaceful, stable Afghanistan important regional peace, stability: Dr Moeed

ISLAMABAD:Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security and Strategic Policy Planning Division said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan was important for peace, stability and connectivity in the region and beyond.

The SAPM addressed “15th meeting of the Secretaries of National Security Councils of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States” on Tuesday. National Security Advisors of the member countries participated in the meeting, said a press release.

While addressing the meeting, Dr Moeed Yusuf said Pakistan considers SCO as a vital platform to forge closer ties with regional partners and promote various mechanisms and processes for multi-faceted linkages, connectivity and cooperation among the member states.

Dr Moeed Yusuf also deliberated on Afghan peace process and welcomed the commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations. “Pakistan has long held that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward,” he said.

He said that Afghan stakeholders should seize this historic opportunity and work together to secure inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

He assured that Pakistan would continue to play the role of a facilitator in the peace process. He said that Afghan alone have the authority to decide on the future of their country. “No outside actor should be seen as the guarantor of peace in that country. The process must be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” he stressed.

Dr Moeed mentioned that Pakistan contributed the most towards peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

“In line with our vision of economic connectivity, Pakistan remains fully committed to facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade and its overall access to the world.”

The SAPM said SCO member states could reap benefits of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Eurasian Economic Union, the two landmark initiatives.

“Economic Diplomacy and connectivity are high on the agenda of our Government and we stand ready to contribute in trans-regional economic and trade development,” he said.

SAPM Dr Moeed Yusuf said Pakistan shares SCO’s strong opposition to the three evils: terrorism, extremism and separatism. He asserted that Pakistan wishes peace in the region and resolution of all outstanding disputes through peaceful dialogue.

“We believe that unilateral and illegal measures in violation of UNSC Resolutions are the biggest hurdle in creating an enabling environment for such a dialogue and such measures should be opposed at all cost,” he said.

He stressed that we must not allow any country to use terrorism-related allegations as a political tool to malign and victimize nations and societies. “We must condemn and hold accountable the perpetrators of state terrorism against people under illegal occupation in disputed territories,” he said.

“We must stand united in opposing resurgence of violent nationalism, fascism and militarism in any shape or form,” Dr Moeed Yusuf said.

He said that Islamophobia, in particular, needs to be addressed in a manner that fosters greater understanding of this religion of peace.

Dr Moeed Yusuf, enunciating on Pakistan’s commitment to SCO Objectives of regional connectivity and cooperation, said that Pakistan would continue to actively participate in all SCO mechanisms to achieve our mutually agreed agenda of regional cooperation.

Dr Yusuf said that SCO’s objective were in complete harmony with the foreign policy goals of the Government of Prime Minister Imran Khan namely peace, stability and development.

“Our top priority remains friendly relations with all countries of the world, especially in the immediate neighborhood, and strengthened regional cooperation through enhanced connectivity and people to people contacts,” Dr Moeed Yusuf said.

Highlighting the importance of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the region, SAPM Dr Moeed Yusuf said that CPEC aims at leveraging the advantages of geography to the maximum benefit of not only Pakistan and China, but the entire region. “Special Economic Zones under CPEC offer an excellent incentive for investment. We are confident that other SCO members will also partner with us in realizing the true potential offered by the CPEC,” he said.

Pakistan became a full member of the SCO in 2017. The meeting of the Secretaries of National Security Councils of SCO Member States in 2017 and 2018 was attended by National Secutiry Advisor Lieutenant General (R) Nasser Khan Janjua.