(2017-06-09) Your Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev,
Distinguished SCO leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a historic day for Pakistan, India and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. With immense pride and high expectations, Pakistan enters into this prestigious and important organization as a full member.
On this occasion, I thank the founding members of the SCO – China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – for their staunch support to Pakistan’s membership.
We are grateful to the SCO Secretary General and his efficient team for their assistance in the membership process.
I also convey my profound gratitude to President Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan for hosting this important summit; and for extending warm hospitality.
Pakistan is not unfamiliar with the SCO. In fact, over the last decade, it has developed a deep association with the organization as its active Observer. We have attended all Summits; and worked earnestly with SCO’s institutions such as its Business Council, Interbanking Consortium, SCO Forum and the Regional Anti-terrorist Structure.
So, in a sense, we come prepared but we realize that we have a lot to learn from the wisdom of the founding members, as we orient our foreign policy in a changing international environment.
With SCO members, we share deep historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic linkages. SCO’s 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 a peaceful neighborhood.
In this contact, I welcome the proposal made by President XI on the need for a “long term treaty of good neighborhood for the next 5 years” 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 counterweights and containment, let us create shared spaces for all.
I congratulate India for joining the SCO family.
Today, in its outreach, the SCO is truly transcontinental. In coming decades, it would serve as a strong link between the Asia-Pacific, East Asia, West Asia and the Atlantic region.
Over the years, the SCO has emerged as a sheet anchor for regional stability. Now it is destined to become a cornerstone of global politics and economics, with economics gaining primacy.
The SCO gives us a powerful platform for partnerships to promote peace, build trust, and spur economic development for shared prosperity. Moreover, it helps us all combat terrorism, reduce arms race, eliminate poverty, fight epidemics, deal with natural disasters, tackle climate change, and ensure water security.
We fully endorse the SCO’s resolve to fight the twin evils of terrorism and extremism. Pakistan has fought its own fierce war against international terrorism and violent extremism; and with the grace of God we have been able to turn around the security and economic situation in our country. The SCO’s expansion takes place at an opportune time, as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) transforms global economic landscape. And, in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is the flagship of the BRI. What is more, these mega projects will benefit the entire SCO community.
We attend this summit with the confidence that we would be able to change the world for the better. We would do so by harnessing the SCO’s enormous potential and proven competencies, as well as by leveraging the strong political will of the nations represented in the SCO. Pakistan stands ready to contribute to this collective endeavor. Thank you.