Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be in Astana today at this august gathering of leaders and representatives of SCO Member and Observer States. I would like to thank His Excellency Karim Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, for hosting this event, and for the gracious hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I would also like to commend the Secretary General, Mr. Dmitry Mezentsev, for his efforts for development and strengthening of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
The SCO’s “Shanghai Spirit” has created a community based on mutual trust, equality, respect for diversity, and pursuit of common development. The SCO has put forward a cohesive agenda for the common security and economic development of our region. Since its establishment in 2001, the SCO has grown in relevance and influence, which is reflected in its interaction with important countries and international organizations.
As an organization that represents half of the world’s population and some of its leading energy producers, SCO can be a force for promotion of common development and regional prosperity. Producing tangible economic progress that benefits the people of the region would also promote SCO’s objectives of peace and stability.
Our region faces many challenges. Peace and Stability in Afghanistan is important for moving towards the objective of economic integration through greater connectivity. In this regard, the SCO member states have an important role to play.
In order to further promote growth, development and stability in the region, the SCO must collectively confront “the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.” Pakistan fully supports China’s proposal to include combating drug trafficking as a priority area for the SCO. We must also enhance cooperation in the areas of information gathering and intelligence sharing among SCO Member and Observer States.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Pakistan welcomes the adoption of the SCO Membership Program and the Template of Duties at the Dushanbe Summit in September this year. It is a major step forward in the development of SCO as an important international organization.
Pakistan attaches great importance to its interaction with the SCO. We were the first observer state to formally apply for full membership and are ready to engage with the SCO in fulfilling the requirements and procedures needed for Pakistan to attain the full membership of the organization.
Pakistan offers critical overland routes and connectivity networks for trade and energy cooperation within the region and beyond. Pakistan represents a natural land-bridge between SCO states and the Eurasian heartland on the one hand, and the Arabian Sea and South Asia, on the other. In fact, Pakistan’s membership of the SCO, together with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other infrastructure projects now underway, would serve as a catalyst for achieving the SCO’s vision of regional economic integration. It would also strengthen the SCO’s endeavours for promotion of peace, security and harmony in the region through economic uplift of our peoples.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has achieved considerable success in the area of security by establishing cooperative mechanisms, like Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS). Given our counter-terrorism experience, Pakistan is in a position to contribute effectively towards the SCO’s counter-terrorism effort.
We assure you that Pakistan, as an SCO member state and as a hub of regional trade and commerce, will contribute constructively to the progress of the region.
Pakistan’s full membership would also make our participation in the group’s activities more effective. The policies and programmes of the SCO are fully in line with Pakistan’s immediate and long-term objectives.
The SCO provides an ideal forum for Pakistan to contribute to peace and stability in South Asia and Afghanistan. Together, we can finally eradicate the menace of terrorism from our region, and foster the strong bonds of trust and confidence that are so essential for development and prosperity.
We look forward to playing an even more robust role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the future.
Last modified: November 21, 2019
Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world.