Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Pakistan
Pakistan became a member of SCO in June 2017. From 2005 to 2017, it enjoyed the status of SCO Observer State. Pakistan's association with SCO is relatively new, but its association with SCO Member States is longstanding. It shares historical, cultural, civilizational and geographical ties with SCO Member States.
Active participation in SCO reflects Pakistan's keen interest in regional peace, stability and socio-economic development. SCO provides a platform for Pakistan to explore greater economic ties and cooperation within the region in key areas such as trade, investment, energy, innovation and entrepreneurship, transport and connectivity.
Important priorities for Pakistan in SCO include cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism, trans-national crimes, and cooperation in socio-cultural, economic, humanitarian spheres and other regional issues.
SCO is an important platform for taking the vision of Eurasian connectivity to the next level. Pakistan's location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East makes it an ideal trade conduit. Investing in our collective connectivity capacities is crucial to advancing our shared vision for an economically integrated region.
Pakistan is committed to the 'Shanghai Spirit' that stands for mutual trust and respect for shared prosperity and development. Shanghai Spirit anchors our collective efforts in the face of great transformation in the geo-political and geo-economic arenas.SCO represents the collective voice and aspirations of over 40% of the global population.
Important consultation mechanisms of SCO include: (i) Council of Heads of State;(ii) Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers); (iii) Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs; (iv) Meetings of Heads of Ministries and/or Agencies; and (v) Council of National Coordinators. Council meetings are held on a regular basis, at least annually.Meetings of Heads of Ministries and/or Agencies include a broad spectrum of cooperation in the fields of agriculture, defence, economy, education, energy, food security, investment, security, trade, transport etc.
Pakistan’s participation in SCO forums
At the meeting of the Council of Heads of States (CHS) in Bishkek in 2019, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan proposed creation of a Special Working Group (SWG) on Poverty Alleviation and SCO Centre of Excellence on Poverty Reduction based in Islamabad. The proposal of SWG on Poverty Alleviation was approved by the SCO-CHS on 16 September 2022. The SWG provides an impetus to collective endeavors of SCO States to eliminate poverty and improve the living standards of the people. Pakistan is the permanent Chair of Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation.
In December 2022, Pakistan hosted the meeting of SCO Ministers of Justice. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Law & Justice of Pakistan. In 2021, Pakistan hosted Joint Anti-Terrorism Exercise (JATE) titled "PABBI - ANTITERROR - 2021" at its National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in Pabbi under the framework of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS). It was the first-ever exercise with physical participation of counter-terrorism forces from two SCO member States - Pakistan and China.
As Chair of SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG) since 26 October 2023, Pakistan has hosted "Conference on Transport Connectivity for Regional Prosperity" on 22 November 2023, and the expert-level meeting of the Special Working Group on Poverty Alleviation entitled "Leveraging Digital Technologies to Enhance Social SafetyNets in SCO Member States" on 06 December 2023.
During 2024, Pakistan will be hosting a Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the SCO Member States as well as a Meeting of Ministers of the SCO Member States Responsible for Foreign Economic and Foreign Trade Activities in Islamabad. In addition to these two high-level meetings, Pakistan will be coordinating several other meetings, which fall under the mandate of SCO CHG.
During 2025-26, Pakistan will chair the SCO Council of Regional Antiterrorism Structure (CRATS). Pakistan will assume the rotational Chair of SCO Council of Heads of State (CHS) and SCO Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in 2026-27.