• Imran meets presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in Dushanbe
• Prime Minister warns that stabilizing Afghanistan could destabilize the region
• MoUs for joint ventures with Tajikistan signed at the Business Forum
ISLAMABAD: Several regional leaders who attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit on Thursday underscored the need for an inclusive government in Afghanistan and agreed with Pakistan that the war-torn country should not be abandoned after the Taliban came to power.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a two-day visit to the SCO summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, met with the presidents of Belarus, Uzbekistan, Iran and Kazakhstan on the first day of his trip on the sidelines of the event.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a taped video statement that the focus of talks between Mr Khan and regional leaders is on the situation in Afghanistan.
The Minister of Information accompanies the Prime Minister on the visit.
“All regional leaders agree that the country should not be abandoned if a stable government is to be achieved in Afghanistan. Rather, it should be engaging. Afghans should not be left alone at this critical moment. Efforts towards inclusive government should continue there, ”said Chaudhry.
“There is consensus on these issues,” he said, adding that all of Afghanistan’s neighbors there are striving for stability.
Khan warned the leaders he met on the sidelines of the summit that failure to stabilize Afghanistan could destabilize the entire neighborhood.
The plenary session of the SCO summit will take place on Friday (today). One focus of the summit would be the developing situation in Afghanistan. Participating Heads of State and Government are likely to call for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, ask the Taliban to prevent their country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists, and discuss ways of dealing with a potential humanitarian crisis there.
While there is an understanding among SCO leaders that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, the Taliban government is unlikely to gain recognition for the region during the summit.
Afghanistan has observer status with the SCO, but was not invited to the summit because the members of the bloc do not recognize its new government.
The President’s Russian Special Envoy for SCO Affairs, Bakhtiyer Khakimov, said in an interview with TASS: “At this point, all member states agree that there are no grounds for an invitation until there is a legitimate, universally recognized government in Afghanistan there. ”
Imran meets executives
Prime Minister Khan met with Iranian President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi. This was the first meeting of the two heads of state or government since Mr Raisi took office last month following his success in the presidential election.
The PM office said the Prime Minister appreciated Iran’s support for the Pakistani initiative to work with Afghanistan’s neighbors for a coordinated approach.
Raisi said, according to a statement by the Iranian Presidency, “We should try to help Afghanistan form a government that includes all groups based on the will of the people in the country. The key to solving Afghanistan’s problems is to form an inclusive government and prevent foreign interference in the country’s affairs. ”
During his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister Khan stressed the need for the international community to stand by the Afghan people, avert a humanitarian crisis and take steps to stabilize the economy.
Mr. Khan reiterated Pakistan’s full support for efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
In his meeting with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Khan stressed that sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan would contribute to peace, connectivity and progress in the region.
Prime Minister Khan also met with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The press service of the President of Uzbekistan said the two leaders had discussed “the situation in the region”.
A Pakistan-Tajikistan Business Forum was also organized in Dushanbe.
According to the PMO, 67 companies from Pakistan and more than 150 Tajik companies attended the forum. Numerous business-to-business meetings took place between companies in the textile, pharmaceutical, leather, fruit and vegetable, processed food, transportation and logistics, construction, education, tourism and mining sectors.
Fifteen letters of intent have been signed for joint ventures and many contracts have been placed with Pakistani exporters.
Prime Minister Khan took the opportunity to invite Tajik businessmen to invest in Pakistan.
He hoped that the CASA 1000 project would soon become a reality.
Mr Khan said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is extremely important for regional connectivity and Pakistan will work with Tajikistan and other neighboring countries of Afghanistan to support the process of peace, progress and prosperity.
Prior to this, Prime Minister Khan was received by his Tajik counterpart Kokhir Rasulzoda at Dushanbe Airport.
Posted in Dawn, September 17, 2021