KARACHI, Pakistan 

Pakistan on Tuesday urged member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to collectively oppose the rising wave of Islamophobia and neo-Nazism across the globe.

“We must oppose all extremist and xenophobic ideologies, including racist ideologies inspired by neo-Nazism and Islamophobia, and call for focusing on building interfaith and cross-cultural bridges,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said in his address to the 20th meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council.

The online summit was presided by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Willful provocations and incitement to hate, especially on religious grounds, should be universally outlawed,” Khan said, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent anti-Islam remarks and the republication of offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in the country.

“We must continue to call for mutual respect of all religions and beliefs, and for fostering a culture of fraternity and peace, including in our own region and beyond.”

Calling for “faithful implementation” of UN Security Council resolutions, he urged the international community to “condemn and resolutely oppose” any unilateral measures to change the status of disputed territories.

The comment was a thinly-veiled reference to India’s decision to strip the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region of its semi-autonomous status last year.

He called for “condemnation and accountability” of perpetrators of state terrorism against people living under illegal occupation in disputed territories.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s stance on a political settlement in Afghanistan, Khan said Islamabad is steadfastly supporting the Afghan-led peace process.

“Afghan stakeholders must seize the historic opportunity for an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement,” he said, while reiterating the need to be wary of “spoilers” within and outside Afghanistan.

He said the dignified return of Afghan refugees to their homeland should be an essential part of the peace negotiations.

Khan also spoke about the “Global Initiative for Debt Relief” that he has pushed for since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for more steps to mitigate the economic repercussions of the global crisis.

Urging member states to clamp down on illicit financial flows from developing countries, he stressed the need for concerted efforts to bring back “stolen wealth” to help nations realize their development potential.

On the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Khan said the multibillion-dollar project is vital for SCO’s vision for regional connectivity and economic integration.

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