Astana (June 9, 2017): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said it is a historic day today as Pakistan becomes a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.
According to the details, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged SCO member states to leave behind the legacy of peace and amity and not the toxic harvest of conflict and animosity.
Addressing the SCO’s heads of council meeting on Friday, he said “I am thankful to member countries for giving Pakistan permanent membership to the body.”
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Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is not unfamiliar with the SCO but over the last decade it has developed a deep association with it as its active observer.
He said we have attended all its summits and worked earnestly with all the SCO institutions such as business council.
“The SCO goals resonate with Pakistan’s national ethos, and so do the core values of the Shanghai spirit and the SCO charter with our own quest for peaceful neighbourhood,” PM Nawaz said at the summit.
“Pakistan is determined to implement the SCO charter,” he said, adding that economics plays a key role in connecting countries and bringing stability.
The premier welcomed a proposal made by Chinese President Xi Jinping on a five-year treaty for good neighbourliness among SCO members.
“As leaders, we should leave a legacy of peace and amity for our future generations, not a toxic harvest of conflict and animosity. Instead of talking about counter-weights and containment, let us create shared spaces for all,” PM Nawaz urged SCO heads of state.
The PM congratulated India, which also became a full member of the SCO today.
He added that in the coming decades, the SCO, which has emerged as a ‘sheet anchor’ for regional stability would serve as a strong link between Asia Pacific, East Asia, West Asia and the Atlantic region.
“It is destined to become a cornerstone of global politics and economics, with economics gaining primacy,” PM Nawaz said.
“The SCO gives us a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, build trust and spur economic development for shared prosperity.”
We have turned around the economic and security situation in the country.
Nawaz Sharif said the expansion of the SCO is taking place at a very opportune time when mega connectivity projects such as One Belt One Road are being pursed in the region.
He said Pakistan is diligently implementing the CPEC which is the flagship project of the Chinese initiative.
“Moreover, it helps us all combat terrorism, reduce arms race, eliminate poverty… deal with natural disasters, tackle climate change and assure water security,” he added.
Expansion of the SCO has taken place at an ‘opportune time’, Nawaz said, as China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative has transformed the global economic landscape.
“In Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a flag of the OBOR,” the PM said. “What is more, these megaprojects will benefit the entire SCO community.”
The SCO summit is being held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
In the summit, Pakistan will become a permanent member of the six-member SCO, along with India.
With the inclusion of Pakistan and India, the SCO will have a total of eight states as permanent members — after China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Other observer states and governments and international organisations are also part of the group.
The group will then represent nearly half of the world’s population after the inclusion of the subcontinental neighbours.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the side lines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization here. During the meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made it clear to Afghan President that Pakistani territory has not been used against Afghanistan.
Both the two leaders discussed a range of issues pertaining to bilateral relations. Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was also present in the meeting.
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Sources said the two heads of state, in the Kazakhstan capital for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit, did not have a meeting scheduled but one was squeezed in on Ghani’s insistence.
Earlier on Friday, the premier held a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
During his 45-minute meeting with the UN chief, issues related to Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism and the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region. The UN chief also congratulated Pakistan on attaining permanent membership of the SCO, and hoped the move will bring more prosperity to the region.
The 2017 summit has gathered the leaders of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and is the first one with Islamabad and New Delhi as full-fledged members of the international organization.
Within the framework of the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold meetings with a number of world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and could have talks with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.
According to Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov, 11 documents have been prepared ahead of the SCO summit, including the decisions of accession of India and Pakistan, as well as a convention on countering extremism and a statement of heads of states on countering terrorism.
The official added that the SCO members would pay a special attention to the situation in Afghanistan that had escalated in recent months amid the activities of Daesh terrorism groups, outlawed in Russia among other countries.
The next summit of the organization would take place in 2018 in China, the Russian presidential aide added.
On Thursday, the prime minister held separate meetings with the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Sharif, Modi exchange pleasantries in Astana
He also reportedly exchanged pleasantries with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, a bilateral meeting between the two is not part of the schedule of both prime ministers.
Pakistan, which has been an observer at the SCO since 2005, applied for a permanent membership in 2010. The decision to grant Pakistan membership was made by the SCO Heads of States in a meeting held in Ufa, Russia, in 2015.
Founded in 2001, the SCO is comprised of six member states, mainly focusing on military cooperation between the members which involves intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia.
Pakistan and India ─ who until now had been observers ─ have become the first nations to be inducted as members since the formation of the organisation.