PM asks SCO to address climate change issue

SAMARKAND (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday called upon the member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (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 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 emphasized 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.
The Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also 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 Organization 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.