ZHENGZHOU: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while attending the 14th Heads of Government Council meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in China on Tuesday reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to counter-terrorism and combating crime.
“We reaffirm our commitment to collectively confront the challenges of extremism, separatism, terrorism, human and drug trafficking, organised crime and environmental and natural disasters,” the premier told the summit.
However, “the security situation around us remains precarious”, he said, adding that Pakistan is “seeing challenges to state sovereignty, territorial integrity”.
“Armed conflicts continue to rage in several parts of the world, unleashing forces beyond the control of anyone. Militant ideologies need to be countered,” he said.
Terrorism has become an “even more insidious” threat, he said.
“These developments require that we join forces and develop comprehensive strategies. SCO has a special role to play in promoting peace and regional stability.”
Nawaz called for members of the SCO to identify common values and build on them.
Television footage showed Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi present at the summit as Nawaz addressed the conference.
Prime ministers from the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan attended the summit, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chaired the meeting.
The prime minister of Belarus, the chief executive of Afghanistan, the vice premier of Mongolia, the minister of state for foreign affairs of India and the minister from Iran attended the SCO meeting as representatives of SCO observers countries.
Nawaz calls for deeper air defence cooperation
In a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for “deeper cooperation between China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation and the Pakistan Air Force on international sales.”
Nawaz vowed to provide security to Chinese citizens working in Pakistan on “various projects of paramount importance to us”, such as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“I am satisfied with the progress on CPEC projects, he said, adding that Pakistan hoped for all the projects under the CPEC to be implemented in a timely and efficient manner.
“We have established a Special Security Division (SSD). SSD will be operational by December 2015 to ensure safety of Chinese nationals.”
He said the Gwadar Security Task Force has already been mobilised under command of a Brigadier, and assured Li that military operations Zarb-i-Azb and the National Action Plan are being successfully implemented.
He requested the Chinese side to allow Pakistan to open a trade-cum-visa office in Urumqi province to facilitate CPEC implementation and people-to-people exchanges.
“I proposed the mechanism of a steering committee between Pakistan, Afghanistan, United States and China which will supervise process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordinate efforts in this regard.”
“We are in the process of evolving terms of reference and a concept paper of the proposed Committee. We will keep close co-ordination with China in that regard and in deliberations of the Committee,” he said.
He apprised the Chinese premier of his recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Paris and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj during her visit to Islamabad last week for the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference.
The meetings have yielded encouraging results, he said, adding that both India and Pakistan had agreed to resume the comprehensive bilateral dialogue process.
Referring to the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference, Nawaz said: “I proposed the mechanism of a steering committee between Pakistan, Afghanistan, US, and China which will supervise process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and coordinate efforts in this regard.”
Pakistan and China are celebrating a ‘Year of Friendly Exchanges’ and next year will be the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, he said.
Pakistan was invited to become full member of the SCO at the Ufa summit in July this year and all relevant procedures are being completed for full membership.
The SCO is a security bloc led by China and Russia. The bloc was originally formed to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighbouring Afghanistan.
The SCO groups China, Russia, Pakistan, India and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, while Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers.