Islamabad, July 4: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said the "hydra-headed monster" of terrorism and extremism whether committed by “individuals, groups or at state level” must be fought with full vigour and conviction, as he warned against using it as a cudgel for diplomatic point-scoring.

Addressing the 23rd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State (CHS) hosted by India in a virtual format, he also talked about religious minorities. SCO Summit 2023: PM Narendra Modi to Chair Virtual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit Today With Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif, Chinese President Xi Jinping in Attendance.

“The hydra-headed monster of terrorism and extremism — whether committed by individuals, societies or states — must be fought with full vigour and conviction. Any temptation to use it as a cudgel for diplomatic point-scoring must be avoided under all circumstances,” he said. PM Modi Takes Swipe at Pakistan at SCO Summit 2023 Video: 'Some Countries Use Cross-Border Terrorism As Instrument of Policies, Shelter Terrorists’, Says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including state terrorism, must be condemned in clear and unambiguous terms. There can be no justification for the killing of innocent people regardless of the cause or pretext.”

He noted that while the sacrifices made by Pakistan in fighting the scourge of terrorism were without a parallel, the phenomenon continued to plague the region and was a “serious obstacle” to peace and stability.

He also talked about the issue of religious minorities and said that the practice of demonising religious minorities in the “pursuit of domestic political agendas” should be stopped, without naming any country. Sharif also tried to rake up the Kashmir issue and highlighted the importance of UN resolutions to address the long overdue disputes.

He also talked about the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism and urged the SCO countries to take concerted and immediate actions, both in their national and collective capacity, to combat them.

He also highlighted the importance of connectivity by saying that it had become a defining feature in the modern global economy. He added that it was rightly hailed as a vehicle for peace and prosperity.

He also talked about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which he said could be a “game changer” for connectivity and prosperity in the region.

“Pakistan's location serves as a natural bridge, connecting Europe and Central Asia with China, South Asia and the Middle East,” he said, adding that special economic zones under the CPEC could also serve as convenient conduits for promoting regional trade.

The CPEC, which connects Gwadar Port in Pakistan's Balochistan with China's Xinjiang province, is the flagship project of China's ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Sharif also said that “climate-induced disaster is knocking at our door” and demanded global solidarity and response to tackle it. He also mentioned the floods last year that hit Pakistan and caused over USD 30 billion of losses to its economy and urged the developed countries to help the poor to mitigate the impact of climate change.

He said poverty alleviation was a huge challenge for the SCO nations, which hosts the largest number of poor in the world. He said the high commodity process due to wars and other related issues demands a response by the SCO countries.

The prime minister also said that stability in Afghanistan should be a common objective while Afghanistan should take measures to stop the use of its territory by any militant entity.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Pakistan became its permanent member along with India in 2017.