Wednesday Jun 23, 2021
National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf on Wednesday said that a failure to achieve peace in Afghanistan is the "most immediate challenge" facing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Dr Yusuf's remarks came during the 16th meeting of the National Security Advisers of the SCO held from June 22-23 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, a statement from the Office of the National Security Adviser said.
Member states, which include Pakistan and India, issued a joint protocol signed by all the NSAs at the end of the meeting, said the statement.
In his formal statement at the summit, Dr Yusuf said that Pakistan — which he said is a country historically most affected by developments within Afghanistan — is fully committed to supporting a stable, peaceful, sovereign, and united Afghanistan at peace with itself and with the neighbours.
“It is our firm view that a negotiated political settlement that is Afghan led and Afghan owned is the only way to achieve this desired outcome”, he added.
The national security advisor cautioned against spoilers, both within and outside Afghanistan, adding that unfortunately, not everyone in the region who professes to prefer peace in Afghanistan does so in reality.
He said that Pakistan cannot allow Afghan soil to be used against it.
Dr Yusuf lay great stress on the fact that Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism against people under illegal occupation.
The advisor said that Pakistan has been a victim of "terrorism planned, supported and sponsored from across our borders". He said this is an unfortunately reality which remains even today and "has at its roots actors who may present themselves as advocates of global cooperation against terrorism but in reality perpetuate it to create instability in our country and the region".
“Terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any race, religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group”, he further said.
The NSA said that Pakistan does not wish to be part of any camp politics or geopolitical confrontation. “Pakistan’s vision for itself was that of a melting pot for positive global interests”, he stated.
He said that Pakistan’s main priorities were to generate greater economic activity, reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty, which are "completely in sync with the SCO's direction".
Dr Yusuf apprised the gathering about Pakistan’s success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the need to counter the pandemic’s negative economic impact and highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s efforts to champion the Global Initiative for Debt Relief.
He said that the vision of a transformed Pakistan was centered on economic security, adding that the country’s emphasis had "shifted from geo-politics to geo-economics".
Dr Yusuf also informed his counterparts about Pakistan’s efforts in the area of Climate Change. He said that Pakistan was a low carbon emitting country but one of the most vulnerable to climate change.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has made climate change his top priority and has emerged as one of the leaders of the Global South on environment,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the NSA held an important bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart. Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Platonovich extended a special invitation to Dr Yusuf to hold a full scale bilateral NSAs dialogue.
According to the statement, during the meeting, the two discussed issues of mutual interest and expressed satisfaction on the progress of Pakistan-Russia bilateral relations, while sharing serious concern about the evolving situation in Afghanistan.