Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Friday that politics should be kept out of regional economic development and connectivity projects. He was addressing the 16th meeting of the Council of the Heads of Government (CHG) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Sochi, Russia, where he had arrived on Thursday. “The world is going through a profound transformation marked by an eastward shift of global development potential,” PM Abbasi said during his address. “Coinciding with this change, the SCO is creating a new imprint on the global international order.” Highlighting Pakistan’s role in regional development, PM Abbasi said, “Pakistan is pursuing projects such as the Casa-1000 and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline project to promote regional energy connectivity.”
He added that Pakistan would also like to see the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) linked with the six major economic zones of the SCO Delivering a warning to those(without naming India) “trying to hinder the world’s progress by standing in the way of various development projects for regional political gain,” the prime minister said: “We would caution against the politicisation of economic development and connectivity projects. Such myopic acts will only hold back our collective progress.” “Pakistan is fully cognisant of the threats posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism to the regional and global economic development,” he stressed while reminding the forum about Pakistan’s ongoing struggle against ideological extremism. Recounting Pakistan’s losses in the fight against extremist ideologies, he added: “We have lost thousands of lives, including 6,500 military and law enforcement personnel, to terrorism. Our economy has suffered losses of over $120 billion, but this has only served to strengthen our resolve to fight terrorism. We are vigilant and will not allow any form of militancy on our soil.” PM Abbasi further said that the SCO charter on long-term neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation is a guiding principle that can “help promote our shared vision of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and respect for cultural diversity and the pursuit of common development.”
“The SCO should continue to contribute to building a just and rational world order based on UN charter principles of respect for international law and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs,” he said.