UNITED NATIONS, May 17 (APP): Pakistan has commended last year’s UN General Assembly’s resolution of Central Asia as a zone of peace, trust and cooperation, saying the creation of such zones could pave the way to stability in this conflict-ridden world.
“In a world where conflicts and tensions have proliferated in several regions, the creation of zones of peace in critical parts of the world can serve as a vital instrument for stability and an avenue for regional and cross-regional cooperation,” Ambassador Munir Akram said during a debate in the 193-member Assembly to consider steps to consolidate this peace zone.
The Central Asia peace zone includes five countries — Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
In his remarks, Ambassador Akram said Pakistan has made consistent efforts to promote peace and cooperation in its own and adjacent regions, advocating the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in South Asia for more than two decades. “This was thwarted by the nuclear explosions initiated by our neighbour,” the Pakistani envoy said, referring to India’s 1998 nuclear blasts.
Continuing, Ambassador Akram said Pakistan had also supported the creation of a zone of peace in the Indian Ocean, as declared by a 1972 General Assembly resolution.
“We are concerned that the Indian Ocean is being drawn into a geo-strategic construct that implies renewed great power rivalry and the emergence of new military alliances,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding that such moves could destabilize parts of Asia, the Pacific and even Africa.
Pakistan, he said, had a vital stake in the preservation of Central Asia as a Zone of Peace, as it shares membership with states of that region in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). “These two coterminous organizations can form the critical component of the endeavours to build security and prosperity across Eurasia.”
Both Pakistan and Central Asia, Ambassador Akram said also accord the highest priority to ensuring durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, noting that the platform of Afghanistan’s 6 neighbours plus Russia, which includes 3 Central Asian countries, was a vital forum to promote peace, stability and economic development in that country.
Once it is stabilized, Afghanistan will serve as the critical connection for regional cooperation, between Central Asia, Pakistan and all the countries who are committed to the early implementation of the several shovel-ready connectivity projects, including the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline, the CASA electricity grid from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Railway.
He told delegates that the Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral Ministerial meeting in Islamabad last week agreed to extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan, further reinforcing the connection between Central Asia and Afghanistan, Pakistan and China.