NEW YORK: Decrying unilateralism in international affairs, Pakistan told a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the United Nations (UN) that the organization represents an effective platform to strengthen multilateralism.

Speaking at the high-level meeting, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the increasingly complex and multifaceted challenges facing the world were being further compounded by the pursuit of narrow national interests and unilateral measures adopted by some states that are undermining an international order, based on dialogue and cooperation.

“Addressing these challenges requires reinvigorated efforts to evolve joint responses,” the Pakistani envoy added.

On its part, Pakistan was ready to foster regional peace, stability and development as well as support the effort against terrorism and extremism, she said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guetters and his SCO counterpart Rashid Alimov presided over the meeting.

Ambassador Lodhi welcomed the increasing UN-SCO cooperation, saying Pakistan supports the regional bloc’s efforts in combating the “three evils” — terrorism, separatism and extremism.

“Pakistan has been the primary victim of terrorism for the last forty years,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding, “We have lost much blood and treasure in our campaign against terrorism.”

Nevertheless, she said, terrorists and their evil acts have never shaken Pakistan’s determination to continue the fight to defeat it.

“Through our successful multi-pronged approach, Pakistan has been able to turn the tide against terrorism,” Ambassador Lodhi told the gathering.

In her remarks, she lauded the progress made by SCO, saying the regional bloc could be a bulwark against growing protectionist, xenophobic and neo-colonialist impulses.

Underlining SCO’s role as a catalyst for economic growth, she said Pakistan accords the highest priority to regional connectivity by building on its existing bilateral ties.

Describing the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a strong manifestation of that commitment, she said the project would benefit not just the two countries, but the entire region and beyond.

Pledging to work with SCO partners to further the common goals, the Pakistani envoy said, “We are optimistic that (the Organization) will continue to grow stronger, making our region a bastion of peace and prosperity.”

 

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