Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that it is “critical to address terrorism in all its forms” as he addressed the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) conference 2020 via video link.
Highlighting the country’s role in the council’s multi-sectoral agenda for regional peace and security, PM Khan said that Pakistan has been at the forefront of the struggle against terrorism for a long time.
“We must also continue to steadfastly oppose extremist and xenophobic tendencies — including racist ideologies inspired by neo-Nazis — and Islamophobia,” said the prime minister.
PM Imran Khan was invited to attend the SCO-CHS by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the online meeting. Leaders from all eight SCO member states and four observer states were in attendance, together with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Secretary-General of SCO Rashid Alimov.
During his address, PM Imran Khan said that Pakistan believes in the council’s objectives related to various global and regional matters.
PM Khan stressed that as part of its agenda, all SCO member countries must join hands to oppose divisive policies based on prejudice and discrimination and focus on building interfaith and cross-cultural bridges.
He also appealed to the council to call “for mutual respect for all religions and beliefs”, building upon his demand for peace and harmony across the world.
The premier had earlier decided to internationally raise the issue of the controversial caricatures in France that have angered Muslims across the world. In a letter shared on Twitter last month, he had urged leaders of the Islamic world to “take the initiative to call for an end to this cycle of hate and violence”.
During the conference, PM Imran Khan pointed out that his government has been particularly focused on alleviating poverty in Pakistan.
“We are thankful to all the SCO members for helping us in this regard,” he said.
PM Khan also underscored that Pakistan stands with the SCO’s commitment towards climate change, noting that the South-Asian country has been “mitigating the adverse effects of climate change” through different initiatives.
“We have launched an ecosystem restoration initiative under which we plan to plant 10 billion trees in the country,” he said.
The conference is held annually to discuss SCO’s major objectives, including the promotion of mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among member states, and the strengthening of regional peace, security and stability, among other issues.
Pakistan has been an active member of the SCO-CHS since 2017. Other member countries include China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.