Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated his call for collective efforts to ensure a stable Afghanistan and foster regional peace.
The premier made the call during his meetings with heads of state from Iran, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of the Heads of State meeting in Dushanbe.
PM Imran had arrived in Tajikistan’s capital leading a high-level ministerial delegation – including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, PM’s Adviser on Commerce Razak Dawood and National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf.
“It is essential to take urgent steps to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, prevent a humanitarian crisis and stabilize the economy,” PM Imran said during a meeting with Iran President Ebrahim Raisi.
He stressed that there was an opportunity to finally end the conflict and war in Afghanistan after 40 years.
The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest. The prime minister conveyed heartfelt felicitations to President Raisi on his victory in the recent presidential elections.
On the situation in Afghanistan, he underscored Pakistan’s vital interest in a “peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.” The prime minister added that the efforts for stabilisation would be reinforced by respect for the rights of all segments of Afghan society and an inclusive political structure.
He also stressed the importance of the international community’s engagement with Afghanistan through positive messaging and constructive practical steps.
The prime minister appreciated Iran’s support for Pakistan’s initiative on engagement with Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries for a coordinated approach.
The wide-ranging talks covered the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, with a special focus on trade and economic sphere and regional connectivity.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue working with Iran to further strengthen and expand brotherly ties between the two countries. The prime minister highlighted his economic security agenda and Pakistan’s shift from geopolitics to geoeconomics.
He thanked President Raisi for Iran’s consistent support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, especially by the supreme leader. He highlighted the grave human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and added Iran’s position was a source of strength for the Kashmiri people, fighting for their right to self-determination.
The prime minister reiterated his cordial invitation to President Raisi to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience. For his part, President Raisi invited PM Imran Khan to visit Iran.
PM Imran also met Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. He said that Pakistan was committed to further enhancing its relations with Belarus across all fields of mutual interest, including trade, investment, agriculture, industry and defence.
The two leaders discussed mutual efforts for strengthening of Pakistan-Belarus relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues.
Reviewing bilateral relations, the PM expressed satisfaction at the growing cooperation between the two countries. It was also agreed to enhance bilateral exchanges at the highest parliamentary and political levels.
The two sides noted that the visit of the Belarus Foreign Minister to Pakistan later this year would contribute significantly to the consolidation and further expansion of bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. The two leaders exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan.
PM Imran underscored that as a country most affected by conflict in Afghanistan for over 40 years, Pakistan had a vital interest in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
He stressed that the international community must stand by the Afghan people, help avert a humanitarian crisis, and take steps to stabilize the economy.
He renewed his invitation to President Lukashenko to visit Pakistan. President Lukashenko extended an invitation to the PM to visit Belarus at the earliest convenience.
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Moreover, PM Imran and Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev affirmed the commitment to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields, particularly trade, investment and transportation links. The two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations and discussed key regional and international issues. The prime minister underlined that Pakistan was resolved to comprehensively upgrade engagement with Central Asian countries through its ‘Vision Central Asia’ policy.
He particularly emphasised the importance of connectivity and Pakistan’s pivotal position in providing the shortest access route to the sea. The prime minister also highlighted the significance of the Trans-Afghan railway project connecting Termez-Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Jalalabad-Peshawar.
The prime minister also underscored the importance of peace in Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region. He stressed that the international community had to remain engaged to support the Afghan people, address urgent humanitarian needs, and take steps to stabilize the economy.
The two leaders agreed to increase the frequency of high-level political exchanges. The PM renewed the invitation to President Tokayev to visit Pakistan. President Tokayev extended the invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Kazakhstan.
The PM had also a meeting with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. During the meeting, both the dignitaries discussed wide-ranging issues – including Afghanistan’s prevailing situation.
“The implementation of the agreements reached earlier and the situation in the region was discussed at the talks with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan,” the Uzbek PM said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the participants of the SCO summit had mutually agreed not to leave Afghanistan alone at this critical juncture to strengthen the war-ravaged country.
Talking to media persons here, he said all the participant countries had expressed the resolve to work together for bringing stability in Afghanistan.
“The neighbours of Afghanistan including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Pakistan and Turkmenistan would find a solution to the problems being faced by Afghanistan,” he said.
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