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On the invitation of the President of Kyrgyz Republic, Mr. Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Bishkek to attend the 19th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of SCO Member States on 13-14 June 2019. The Prime Minister’s delegation included Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Assistance to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and senior officials.

Upon arrival in Bishkek, the Prime Minister was received by Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev and other Kyrgyz dignitaries. As part of the programme on 13 June, the Prime Minister participated in a Dinner hosted by President Jeenbekov in honour of the participating Leaders. Later, the Prime Minister accompanied by other Leaders attended a Gala Concert, entitled “Caravan of Friendship,” in which artists and musicians from SCO countries presented their representative music. Renowned Pakistani artist Akhtar Chanal Zehri (accompanied by Ahmed Khalil on Benjo) performed the popular musical item, “Salam Pakistan.”

On June, 14, the Prime Minister attended the Restricted Session of the Summit, along with Leaders from SCO Member States. This was followed by an Extended Session, in which leaders of SCO Observers, Special Guests and Representatives of International Bodies and Organizations also joined.

In his statement at the Summit, the Prime Minister inter alia underscored the historic, geographic and economic linkages between Pakistan and SCO region; highlighted myriad strengths of Pakistan and the process of transformation underway in the country; stressed the inextricable linkage between peace and development as the anchor of Pakistan’s foreign policy outlook; underlined the salience of CPEC in the context of connectivity and regional prosperity; shared Pakistan’s perspective on the rapidly changing global scenario; and articulated Pakistan’s positions on major issues such as Afghanistan; peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia; and tensions in the Gulf/Middle East.

The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. He also underlined that Pakistan had successfully turned the tide against terrorism and remained ready to share its experience and expertise in counter-terrorism with SCO partners.

The Prime Minister stressed that the main dynamic needed to be shifted from confrontation to cooperation for enduring peace and prosperity in South Asia. He said, “it is important to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavours for regional prosperity.”

Sharing a futuristic and forward-looking agenda, the Prime Minister proposed an 8-pronged course of action for SCO, viz.:

i. Reinforcing SCO’s vision of cooperation that rejects confrontation, and advances the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels.

ii. Galvanizing the “Shanghai Spirit” to strengthen SCO’s core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability.

iii. Finalizing arrangements for trade in local currencies, and setting up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank

iv. Synergizing region-wide connectivity initiatives for infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity, including digital, cultural, touristic, and academic and setting up SCO Culture & Tourism Corridors.

v. Promoting food security and enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.

vi. Establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white collar crime.

vii. Prioritizing women and youth empowerment by strengthening the Women Forum and the Youth Council for promoting gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and jobs mobility.

viii. Launching feasibilities for creating SCO Centers of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.

During the Extended Session, the Prime Minister along with other SCO Leaders signed 14 landmark decisions on SCO’s future priorities related to political, security, trade and economic and cultural cooperation. The participating Leaders also signed the Bishkek Declaration.

The Bishkek Declaration is a comprehensive document emphasizing the “Shanghai Spirit” characterized by mutual trust and benefit, equality, joint consultations, respect for cultural diversity and aspiration for collective development.

Separately, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi signed three SCO documents namely: (i) Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Physical Cultural and Sports; (ii) Agreement on Media Cooperation; and (iii) Work Plan for Cooperation in the field of Healthcare.

While in Bishkek, Prime Minister Imran Khan held bilateral meetings/interactions with the Presidents of People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Republic of Belarus. The Prime Minister also had informal exchanges with other participating Leaders.

This was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s first participation in an SCO Summit-level event. The Prime Minister’s presence at the Bishkek Summit signified the high importance that Pakistan attaches to SCO as a trans-regional platform. The Prime Minister’s comprehensive statement at the Summit and the 8-pronged course of action underscored Pakistan’s commitment to contribute substantially to the advancement of SCO’s goals and objectives in the political, security and economic spheres.

The Prime Minister’s engagement with world leaders including President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin lent further momentum to Pakistan’s All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership with China and to the growth of Pakistan’s multi-dimensional ties with the Russian Federation. The Prime Minister’s interaction with leaders from Central Asian Republics (CARs) was consistent with Pakistan’s vision of deeper engagement with Central Asia and aimed at boosting further progress in the political, economic and trade, energy, culture and people-to-people domains.


15 June 2019

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