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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Calls for Meaningful Engagement with Afghan Taliban Government at SCO Summit

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif emphasized the pressing issue of terrorism as a major concern for member states at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, stating the need for “meaningful” engagement with the Afghan Taliban government. His address took place during the SCO meetings in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, where leaders and diplomats from countries including China, India, Turkiye, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan convened to discuss economic and security cooperation.

Highlighting the significance of regional peace as a prerequisite for economic development, Prime Minister Shehbaz stressed the pivotal role of achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan. He urged the international community to engage meaningfully with the Afghan government to address genuine economic and development needs while also calling for concrete measures by the Afghan government to prevent the use of its soil for terrorism against other states.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Shehbaz emphasized the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, and vehemently stated that there is no justification for the killing of innocent people or the use of terrorism for political gain. He also underscored the responsibility of leaders to rise above partisan geopolitics and collaborate to secure a prosperous future for people in the region.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s role in regional trade connectivity, the Prime Minister highlighted the country’s strategic location and emphasized the contribution of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to SCO’s vision of regional connectivity and economic interaction. Additionally, he advocated for the promotion of national currencies for mutual settlements within the region to mitigate global financial shocks and bolster different development projects in the SCO region.

In a separate meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Shehbaz called for revitalizing and expanding trade between Pakistan and Russia under a barter system to overcome financial and banking issues. This proposal aimed to address challenges and enhance cooperation between the two countries in various sectors such as energy and agriculture.

Moreover, Prime Minister Shehbaz proposed the establishment of tripartite institutional mechanisms, particularly in economic and investment areas, to reinforce economic and commercial cooperation between Pakistan, Turkiye, and Azerbaijan during the inaugural session of the Pakistan-Turkiye-Azerbaijan Trilateral Summit held on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

The Prime Minister highlighted Pakistan’s deep-rooted fraternal ties with Azerbaijan and Turkiye, emphasizing mutual respect and support for core issues. He expressed Pakistan’s commitment to contributing to collective efforts aimed at raising living standards in the SCO region, considering the prevalent political and military conflicts and the resultant impact on poverty due to the rise in food and fuel prices across the globe.

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