Posted by: Administrator | 23 July, 2006

President at 7th ECO Summit, Istanbul

President Pervez Musharraf’s Speech at 7th ECO Summit, Istanbul

October 14, 2002 

Mr. Chairman, I am happy to be in the beautiful and mystical Istanbul, a city that occupies a place of pride not only in Turkey but also in the entire Muslim world. For me personally, a visit to Turkey evokes memories of the time I spent here in my early years. My delegation and I are overwhelmed by the warm reception and the gracious hospitality of the brotherly people and the Government of Turkey.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to congratulate you on your election as the Chairman of this Summit. We are convinced that under your guidance, the ECO will move confidently towards a brighter future.

May I also pay warm tributes to the sagacious leadership provided by the outgoing chairman, His Excellency Hojjatoleslam Seyed Mohammad Khatami, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We welcome Seyed Mojtaba Arastou as the new Secretary General of ECO, and would like to express our appreciation of the work done by his predecessor, Dr. Abdolrahim Gavahi.

Mr. Chairman, the Seventh ECO Summit coincides with the 10th anniversary of the expansion of the Organization. This auspicious landmark provides us an opportunity to assess the progress made and the problems encountered by the Organization. ECO was born from a vision of economic cooperation, the benefits of which would accrue to all people in the region. Ten years later, it is appropriate that we review our achievements and shortcomings.

Our cultural affinities, shared history, geographical proximity and economic complementarities provide a strong underpinning for enhanced cooperation, for which the institutional framework is now in place.

Some notable achievements have also been registered during the last decade. However, we still have a long way to go before the ECO truly becomes a vibrant regional economic organization by harnessing the resources of the region for an accelerated march towards the goal of socio-economic well-being of our people. We must develop an agreed vision and time-bound targets to realize the full potential of our Organization.

Specifically, the finalization of the ECO Trade Agreement, ratification by all states of the Transit Transport Framework Agreement, completion of road and rail links, the early establishment of the ECO Trade and Development Bank and ECO Reinsurance Company are some of the areas which need our urgent attentions.

            Similarly, while we laud the establishment of the ECO Cultural Institute, there is an urgent need to launch the ECO Science Foundation and the ECO Educational Institute.

The organization needs also to identify the comparative advantages of each state in different sectors of economic activity for mutually beneficial cooperation. We should establish centres of excellence, to make available expertise to member states at reasonable cost. I would like to inform this august gathering that Pakistan is willing to share its expertise in genetic engineering and Information technology with all member states, as a step in this direction.

            Mr. Chairman, challenges posed by the process of globalisation make it imperative that we cooperate closely for the efficient utilization of resources and improved production through economies of scale. The ECO must become the vehicle for the integration of its member states with the global economy. We must work to ensure that our peoples share the benefits of globalisation and avoid its adverse effects. Collectively we must develop a more effective voice in international economic forums and coordinate our positions in the UN system.

 Mr. Chairman, growth and development of any region requires the collective efforts of all its people, irrespective of gender. The ECO should become a leader in the developing world, in focusing on empowering women; we must ensure that women enter the mainstream of economic development activities as well as in the political domain. We, in Pakistan, are making a conscious and concerted effort in this regard by enhancing the role of women in local political, social and economic activities as well as at the national level in our Parliament. The increase in the number of reserved seats for women to sixty in our National Assembly is a major step in this direction. Let us decide at this Summit to work for the full participation of women in the economic development of the region. The Istanbul Summit should be remembered as the one dedicated to the goal of advancement of women.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to extend a warm welcome to my brother Hamid Karzai, President of the Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan. We have very special linkages with our Afghan brothers. Pakistan supports fully the establishment of durable peace and reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan. ECO, as a regional organization, should join hands to help Afghanistan in its efforts for rehabilitation, reconstruction and quick economic recovery.

Mr. Chairman, the Seventh Summit is being held at a defining moment in the history of modern civilization. The attacks of September eleven were a stark manifestation of the threat that terrorism poses to our societies.  Pakistan joined the international coalition against terrorism in line with our principled position of opposing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We are, however, convinced that the international community's battle against terrorism must also address the root causes that drive people to desperation and violence. The difference between the genuine struggle of people for self-determination and acts perpetrated by terrorists must be underscored. We must also condemn state terrorism carried out against people under foreign occupation.

            Mr. Chairman, unfortunately, our eastern neighbour, India, has sought to exploit the international campaign against terrorism to undermine the freedom struggle of the people of Kashmir and to step up the use of brute force, to silence the voice of the Kashmiri people. The 700,000 strong Indian security forces, stationed in Jammu and Kashmir have used terror as a weapon and have killed eighty thousand innocent Kashmir men, women and children over the last decade alone, in their frenzied attempts to destroy the will of the Kashmiri people and to maintain illegal Indian occupation. There can hardly be a more glaring example of State terrorism than Indian brutality in Kashmir.

India has tried to divert international attention from its reign of terror against the Kashmiri people by making spurious allegations against Pakistan of supporting infiltration across the Line of Control in Kashmir. In advancing these baseless charges, India has sought to act as an accuser and a judge. It has refused to accept Pakistan's proposal for the strengthening of United Nations Military Observers Group for India & Pakistan (UNMOGIP) or some other impartial international mechanism to monitor the Line of Control and to objectively assess the veracity of the allegations of infiltration.

Recently India organized farcical elections in the Indian Occupied Kashmir under the bayonets of the Indian troops. The Indian game plan was to justify and legitimise its illegal occupation by claiming that the Kashmiris had spoken through these elections. These elections were boycotted by the Kashmiri people. Despite the coercion employed by the army to force people to the polling stations, the turnout at the elections was abysmally low. There was blatant rigging before and during the elections. Such sham elections can never be a substitute for a fair and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices to ascertain the wishes of the Kashmir people, as decreed by the United Nations Security Council.

            Since the beginning of this year, India has deployed almost one million troops on its border with Pakistan, forcing us to move our troops to forward positions as a defensive measure. The resulting tensions along our border with India and the Line of Control have raised fears of an armed conflict between the two countries. We have repeatedly stated that instead of resorting to accusations, threats and dangerous escalation, India should withdraw troops to peace-time locations and return to the path of dialogue and negotiations. We do not want war; we will not initiate war with India. But if war is imposed on us we will defend ourselves with the utmost resolution and determination.

Mr. Chairman, We condemn the aggression against Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. Pakistan calls for the immediate vacation of Azeri territory occupied through aggression.   

We support the Turkish people of Northern Cyprus in their determination to secure and protect their fundamental and inalienable rights.

Mr. Chairman, I have drawn the attention of this august gathering to some issues of peace and security as they undermine our ability to devote our resources to the economic progress and uplift of our peoples. Individually and collectively we need to work to strengthen regional peace and stability so that the immense resources available in our region can be devoted to alleviating poverty and enhancing the well being of the people of the region. We have to remember that peace in all areas can be achieved only from a position of strength-never, when we are weak within. This makes it incumbent on all of us to cooperate for the enhancement of our collective strength.

Mr. Chairman, I conclude by expressing once again our confidence that the member States of ECO would continue their steady march towards progress and prosperity.  Thank you.

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