NEW YORK, Sep 24 (APP):Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Friday urged the international community to respond in a positive way to the United Nations Secretary-General’s appeal for $4.2 billion in humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan and release the country’s financial reserves, essential to revive its banking system.
Speaking at the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly here, the prime minister said 30 million Afghans were left without a functional economy and banking system that allowed ordinary Afghans to make a living to be able to build a better future.
He said Pakistan would like to see an “Afghanistan which is at peace with itself and the world, and which respects and nurtures all its citizens, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and religion.”
He told the gathering that Pakistan was working to encourage respect for the rights of Afghan girls and women to education and work.
“Yet, at this point, isolating the Afghan Interim Government could aggravate the suffering of the Afghan people, who are already destitute. Constructive engagement and economic support are more likely to secure a positive response. A peaceful, prosperous and connected Afghanistan is in our collective interest,” the prime minister commented.
He said being a neighbour, Pakistan had a vital stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan as the country had also led the humanitarian efforts to help the Afghan people.
“We must avoid another civil war, rising terrorism, drug trafficking or new refugees – which none of Afghanistan’s neighbours are in a position to accommodate,” he said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz told the General Assembly that Pakistan shared the key concern of the international community regarding the threat posed by the major terrorist groups operating from Afghanistan, especially ISIL-K and TTP as well as Al-Qaida, ETIM and IMU.
However, he said, “they all need to be dealt with comprehensively, with the support and cooperation of the interim Afghan authorities. In turn, the international community should address Afghanistan’s dire humanitarian needs.”