Pakistan wants collective ’Asian Spirit’ for regional peace: Mamnoon

SHANGHAI: President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday said Pakistan wants to establish a political discourse in South Asia based upon cooperation, not confrontation.

“Pakistan is desirous of a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia guided by the ‘Asian Spirit’ and the goal of creating ‘Asian Harmony’,” the President said in his address to the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), held in Shanghai.

President Mamnoon said today, Asia faces numerous political and economic challenges in the form of long-standing political and territorial disputes, emerging traditional and non-traditional security challenges including terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and organized crime, poverty and negative consequences of climate change.

He stressed that these shared challenges can only be resolved through constructive engagement and cooperative spirit.

The President said Pakistan fully supports the spirit of ‘Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Member States’ and the ‘Almaty Act’, which underscore the interdependence of political, military, economic and socio-cultural aspects of relationships among member states and a comprehensive vision of security in Asia.

He said confidence building measures and peaceful resolution of disputes would help achieve the objectives of collective security. He said CICA is a useful forum to pursue these objectives.

The President said Pakistan seeks friendship and good- neighbourly relations with India and said the government of Pakistan stands ready to engage in a meaningful and sustained dialogue with the new government in India to address outstanding issues and establish friendly and cooperative bilateral relations.

Mamnoon Hussain said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is essential for peace and stability of the entire region. Pakistan will continue to support an inclusive, Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, he added.

He said Pakistan is committed to work together with Afghanistan to expand mutual trade and economic cooperation and stand in solidarity with the Afghan brethren as they brave the natural calamity in Badakhshan province.

The President said Pakistan is desirous of seeing a stable and peaceful Middle East and added that it will also continue to support the just aspirations of the people of Palestine.

He said Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the people of Pakistan have borne the brunt of this scourge for the past many years.

He stressed that it was imperative that the global struggle against terrorism was waged within the framework of international law and in full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States.

“Terrorism knows no borders, no religion and no creed and it should be associated with none. We will continue to raise our voice against attempts of religious stereotyping and profiling,” he said.

President Mamnoon said as a responsible nuclear weapon state, Pakistan would continue to pursue the goals of disarmament and non- proliferation and adhere to the policy of “Credible Minimum Deterrence” without entering into an arms race.

“We also believe that access to safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear energy, without discrimination, is essential for the credibility of the non-proliferation regime,” he said.

For a fossil fuel deficit country like Pakistan, the President said access to nuclear technology is vital for addressing the growing energy needs and will contribute to development and economic growth.

President Mamnoon said Pakistan fully supports the need for greater regional connectivity through the construction and linkage of essential infrastructure particularly roads, rails and the sea- lanes.

Infrastructure development and linkage will stimulate investment, lead to an exchange of ideas, provide job opportunities and connect market comprising billions of consumers, he said.

Guided by this vision, the President said Pakistan and China are closely cooperating to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and hoped that this project will contribute to the economic development of not only the two countries but also of the entire region.

The President said Pakistan will continue to contribute towards the realization of the vision of peace and security in Asia, based upon dialogue, cooperation and mutual understanding, as conceived in the form of CICA in 1992.

He congratulated China for assuming the chair of CICA and commended Turkey for its leadership of CICA during the past four years.

Chinese Premier Xi Jinping welcomed the heads of states who attended the session. President of Turkey Abdullah Gul and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev also addressed the opening session.

Eleven heads of state and a head of government including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 10 chiefs of international organizations were among those attending the summit.