Press Trust of india

Pak ready to work with regional countries to eliminate terrorism: Janjua

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Islamabad, May 23:  Pakistan today said that the terrorism should not be identified with any religion, individual countries or nationalities and offered to work with regional countries to eliminate the menace from the region at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) also attended by India.

Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua made the remarks while inaugurating a meeting of the Legal Experts Group of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) here.

Experts from the eight SCO member states – China, Kazakhstan, India,  Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan – are attending the meeting.

India’s presence at the meeting assumes significance since it had boycotted the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit here in 2016 citing continuing support to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan.

“We now look forward to working with regional countries under the umbrella of SCO to effectively eliminate terrorism from our region. Pakistan fully supports and welcomes the efforts of SCO-RATS in the fight against ‘three evils’ of terrorism, extremism and separatism,” Janjua said.

She said Pakistan is cognizant of the threats posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism to the region and beyond.

Janjua said Pakistan lost thousands of its citizens and security personnel, with many more injured. It also suffered economic losses of over USD 120 billion.

“But neither the human nor the financial losses have diminished my country’s resolve to fight this menace. Through our comprehensive efforts, over the past several years, supported by a firm domestic political consensus, we have been able to turn the tide,” she said.

She said that terrorism cannot and should not be identified with any religion, individual countries or nationalities.

Janjua said the SCO holds special significance for Pakistan.

“We take pride in becoming a full member of the SCO last year – an organisation that offers a unique new model of inter-state cooperation for peace, security, connectivity and sustainable development,” she said.

Janjua said SCO holds tremendous potential for connectivity, trade, energy and economic development. It can lead to progress and prosperity for the entire region.

She said Pakistan with over 200 million people offers the SCO enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

“Pakistan’s historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic links with the SCO members, can act as an enabler in realizing the SCO’s vision,” she said.

Janjua said Pakistan as new member would continue to complement these efforts.

“We support SCO consensus that as we engage in the fight against terrorism, we must respect the norms and principles of international law, UN Charter and shun ‘double standards’,” she said.

She said Pakistan strongly believed that SCO-RATs is an ideal forum for exchange of views and best practices on countering terrorism and extremism.

“We hope that other member states can benefit from our rich experience in countering terrorism and extremism as we do from the good practices developed by other SCO members,” she said.

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