(2017-06-09) Pakistan was today formally admitted as a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the 17th Meeting of the Heads of State Council of SCO in Astana, Kazakhstan.
All the Heads of the family members of SCO, including President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin, President Nursultan Nazarbayev congratulated Prime minister Nawaz Sharif on this historic occasion.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization established in June 2001. Its founding members include Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. SCO’s basic principles are mutual trust, equality, respect for cultural diversity, and a desire for common development.
Pakistan has been an Observer in SCO since 2005. It was the first Observer state to apply for full membership in 2010. The SCO Heads of State in their meeting in June 2015 agreed, in principle, to grant membership to Pakistan. Subsequently, a Memorandum of Obligations was signed in 2016. Pakistan successfully completed all the steps required to become a full member including accession to SCO instruments.
Pakistan’s membership of SCO is an important foreign policy milestone. Pakistan shares with the SCO and its Members, historical and cultural links and strong economic and strategic complementarities. Our interest and objectives intersect across a wide range of areas and issues.
Pakistan’s membership of this important organization would strengthen its cooperation with SCO member states; advance our goals of effective contribution to regional peace, stability and development and help play a more effective role for regional cooperation against terrorism and extremism. Our membership will also help create greater economic linkages and cooperation with Central Asian countries in the areas of energy and transport and promote Pakistan as a regional trade corridor. It will also enable Pakistan to convey its perspective on regional issues and help develop consensus at an important forum. Pakistan offers critical overland routes and connectivity for trade and energy transactions intra regionally and inter regionally. With inclusion of Pakistan and India, total population of SCO is now 45 percent of the world’s population and it accounts for 25 percent of the world’s GDP.
Through its presence in SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent, Pakistan hopes to play an effective role in the activities of the Organization.
On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, The Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Russia. He exchanged views with these leaders on matters of mutual interest and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations with these entities and to promote stability and prosperity in the region. The UN Secretary General also called on the Prime Minister.