Shehbaz Sharif addresses annual meeting of Council of Heads of State

of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation n Asks SCO member countries to make Pakistan-specific climate action plans after flood disaster n Says it will be a ‘big mistake if we ignored Afghanistan’ n President Xi meets with PM Shehbaz Sharif in Samarkand n China, Pakistan always each other’s trustworthy strategic partners: President Xi.

SAMARKAND (UZBEKISTAN)    -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday called for collective ef­forts to fight climate change and urged the SCO member coun­tries to renew their search for regional solutions to problems that threaten to undermine ‘our shared peace and development.’

After completing his two-day visit to participate in the CHS-SCO in Samarkand, PM Sheh­baz Sharif late Friday tweeted, “Leaving Samarkand on a satis­factory note. There is now a re­newed awareness about the po­tent threat of climate change. SCO countries understand it is capable of reversing all our ma­terial development & pushing us backward by decades. All the more reason for a united front.” 

In another tweet, the premier said, “In my speech at CHS-SCO today in Samarkand, I asked member countries to renew their search for regional solu­tions to problems that threaten to undermine our shared peace & development. Building a wall against climate change is one such imperative that we ignore at our own peril.”

Also, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday called upon the member states of Shanghai Co­operation Organisation (SCO) to come up with Pakistan-specific programmes on climate change as the country faced devastat­ing impact of the global natural phenomenon. “This climatic in­justice has befallen us despite the fact that our carbon emis­sion is less than one percent,” the prime minister said in his address at the Heads of State meeting of the eight-member SCO, held here in the historic city of Samarkand.

The prime minister’s call to the SCO members came in the wake of the recent flash floods in Pakistan that wrecked hav­oc with the livelihood and in­frastructure across the country. He mentioned that Pakistan was braving the disaster of floods, where hill torrents and massive rains killed 1,400 people includ­ing 400 children while million of houses were damaged par­tially or completely.

“I earnestly appeal to all of you that let the SCO stand up and take steps against this dev­astation through sustainable programmes,” he said.

PM Sharif said the country never faced such level of cli­mate-induced catastrophe in its history that inflicted disaster upon human lives, infrastruc­ture, livestock and crops.

He stressed the dire need of assistance by the internation­al community to help Pakistan overcome the problems in the wake of floods, including relief, rehabilitation and control of water-borne diseases.

“In view of the massive disas­ter, I would be very honest to urge this forum to extend assis­tance to Pakistan and chalk out plans regarding climate change for our future generations,” he said. PM Sharif reaffirmed Pa­kistan’s unwavering commit­ment to achieving the goals of the SCO.

He expressed Pakistan’s com­mitment to join the SCO states in implementation of robust connectivity plans among the neighbouring regional coun­tries. “It will be a win-win out­come for all the member states. This is the time to act, and act now,” he stressed.

The prime minister said Paki­stan was firm in collective ded­ication to fight the menace of extremism, separatism and ter­rorism. In fight against terror­ism, he said, thousands of Paki­stani civilians and armed forces laid down their lives for the se­curity of their homeland. As the neighbouring country of Af­ghanistan, he said, Pakistan val­ued peace, progress and shared development of the country im­portant for the region. “We have to work together to support all good initiatives in Afghanistan for the good of the people of Af­ghanistan in areas, particular­ly education, health and human rights,” he said.

Sharif said it would be a “big mistake if we ignored Afghan­istan.”He emphasised that strengthening Afghanistan as vital in view of the stability of the region besides achieving the goals of the SCO.

He urged the SCO community to work towards unfreezing the assets of Afghanistan, and en­suring respect for human rights especially women and minori­ties. The prime minister con­gratulated the Iranian president on the attainment of full mem­bership of his country to the platform of SCO.

‘PM Shehbaz meets China’s Xi’

Prime Minister Shehbaz Shar­if on Friday met Chinese Pres­ident Xi Jinping here wherein he appreciated the transforma­tional impact of the China Paki­stan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Pakistan’s socio-economic development.

During the bilateral meeting took place on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the Coun­cil of Heads of State of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation here, the prime minister also reaf­firmed his government’s com­mitment to high quality devel­opment of CPEC.

Both the leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral rela­tions and exchanged views on important regional and interna­tional issues of mutual interest. This was the prime minister’s first meeting with the Chinese president since assuming office in April 2022. The interaction between the two leaders was marked by traditional warmth as well as exceptional mutual trust and understanding. In his welcoming remarks, the Chi­nese president described Prime Minister Sharif as “a person of pragmatism and efficiency”. He also added that the prime min­ister was a leader with “a long­standing commitment to Chi­na-Pakistan friendship”.

Noting the enduring nature of China-Pakistan bilateral ties, the prime minister underlined that our ‘All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership’ and Iron-brotherhood had with­stood the test of time. He reaf­firmed his personal resolve to take their bilateral relations to greater heights.

Prime Minister Sharif extend­ed his best wishes to President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party of China for the forthcom­ing 20th CPC National Congress. He underscored that the SCO provided an excellent forum to further their shared vision and mutual values into concrete plans for regional cooperation and integration.

The prime minister thanked President Xi, the government and the people of China for the generous and timely support to the flood affected people in Pa­kistan. He said that the outpour­ing of sympathy and support from all quarters across China was touching and a true reflec­tion of the “unique” friendship between China and Pakistan.

He condoled with President Xi over the tragic loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Sichuan Province on September 5, 2022, empha­sizing that the Government and people of Pakistan stood with China in the face of this natu­ral calamity. The prime minis­ter briefed President Xi on his government’s policies for Paki­stan’s sustained growth, indus­trial development, agricultur­al modernization, and regional connectivity. Both leaders wel­comed the signing of a Protocol to the Framework Agreement on ML-1 Railway Project.

Prime Minister Sharif reiterat­ed Pakistan’s consistent and un­wavering support to China on all issues of its core interest in­cluding Taiwan, Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

He also thanked the Chinese government for support ex­tended to Pakistan for its sov­ereignty and territorial integri­ty, FATF, national development, COVID-19 pandemic and oth­er areas. Sharing his views with President Xi on the internation­al situation, the prime minister highlighted that challenges like climate change, health pandem­ics and growing inequalities could only be tackled through cooperation of all nations in ac­cordance with the UN Charter.

He lauded President Xi’s vi­sionary Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Global Development Initiative (GDI), which called for collective action for sustain­able development and win-win outcomes. Prime Minister Shar­if highlighted the serious hu­man rights situation in the Indi­an Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and thanked China for its principled stand on the dis­pute. The two leaders reaffirmed their resolve to building the Pa­kistan-China Community for Shared Future in the New Era.

The prime minister renewed his invitation to President Xi Jin­ping to undertake a state visit to Pakistan, underlining that the people of Pakistan were looking forward to accord a warm wel­come to him.

While acknowledging the in­vitation, President Xi stated that he was looking forward to Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China at an early date.