Pakistan joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2017. But Pakistan’s relations with SCO states are centuries old, as the cultural and civilization of Pakistan have deep-roots in Central Asia. We share the same religion, similar literature and common spiritual leaders with Central Asia. Pakistan was well connected with all SCO countries under the strong bond of BRI, a mega initiative of China. Due to emerging geopolitics, Russia and Pakistan are compelled to closer ties.
Pakistan is a pivot in the future development of Eurasia and the gate-way to the “Peace, Security, Trade, Development and Prosperity” of the whole region. Pakistan is the most feasible route to access the Arabian Sea – “Hot Waters” for Eurasia. Pakistan has developed its infrastructure under BRI-CPEC to cater and facilitate the whole region. The development of the Gwadar Port will change the trade pattern of the whole region. It is the only and biggest deep-sea port in the region. The network of motor-ways, High-ways in the breadth and width of the country is to facilitate all future requirements. Up-gradation of the Railway network will add more convenience to the transportation of cargo as well as passengers.
Pakistan’s human resource is an advantage, as 220 million resilient and enterprising people, among which almost 70% are under the age of 40, youth are definitely our strength. English is the official language, is widely understood, which is essential for international trade. Pakistan is an attractive investment destination, the big market itself and a rich array of natural resources. During the 19th Summit held in Bishkek on 13-14 June 2019, Prime minister of Pakistan, Imran in his speech expressed “Pakistan has historic ties with the nations and countries represented around this table. We may be new to the SCO family, but our links are deep and abiding. SCO is the modern expression of our historic roots. Our economic linkages are equally compelling. Pakistan provides vital connectivity between the Middle East and China and Central and South Asia. These geographic proximities and economic imperatives draw us closer to SCO.”
Pakistan is a peace-loving nation and promotes peace globally. Our foreign policy outlook is anchored on the inextricable link between peace and development. And believes in building partnerships based on mutual respect, sovereign equality and equal benefit.
The latest geopolitics of the region is changing rapidly and for the first time in ages, we are seeing the advent of a multi-polar global order. Epicenters of economic power and growth momentum are shifting eastwards. Regional integration is witnessed rapidly.
Today, we are facing multi-facet threats from terrorism to climate change to narcotics to bacterial resistance and increasing barriers to open trade and innovation. Growing intolerance and Islamophobia are threatening to accentuate religious fault-lines.
Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State-terrorism against people under illegal occupation. Pakistan is among the very few countries to have successfully turned the tide against terrorism. Our achievements are well recognized.
Being a victim of Terrorism, Pakistan is committed to eliminating terrorism completely and willing to share our experience on overcoming the menace of Terrorism with the other states.
Pakistan suffered heavily due to the situation in Afghanistan and extend all possible support of peaceful solution of Afghan issue, based on Afghan-led and Afghan-owned principles. Pakistan appreciates any initiative in the resolution of the Afghan crisis. SCO may lead in this direction and restore sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
A very unfortunate, South Asia continues, inhabits huge population and rich resources, yet to be challenged by common enemies: poverty, illiteracy, disease, and under-development. Political differences and unresolved disputes further compound the predicament. Under the charter of SCO, it is desired to seize the opportunities for peaceful resolution of outstanding disputes and collective endeavors for regional prosperity.
Thick clouds of War and threats in the Middle-East are a matter of deep concern for the whole region. SCO may initiate a consensus built strategy to control the deteriorated and tense situation, to exercise restraint, take steps to de-escalate the situation and find solutions through diplomatic civilized means.
Prime Minister further suggested followings:
“1) reinforce our vision of cooperation, that rejects confrontation, and advance the imperatives of peaceful co-existence at the regional and international levels.
2) Galvanize the “Shanghai Spirit” to strengthen SCO’s core mandate of mitigating the risks of conflict, fostering confidence, and promoting stability.
3) Finalize arrangements for trade in local currencies, and set up SCO Fund and SCO Development Bank to catalyze the trans-regional development agenda.
4) Synergize the various region-wide connectivity initiatives, and work on complementing infrastructure connectivity with soft connectivity, including digital, cultural, touristic, and academic. I propose setting up SCO Culture & Tourism Corridors, clustering multiple SCO destinations into a single package.
5) Make SCO more relevant to the daily lives of citizens by promoting food security and enhancing cooperation in health and humanitarian sectors.
6) Take the lead role in establishing a comprehensive framework for combating corruption and white-collar crime.
7) Prioritize women and youth empowerment by focusing inter-alia on strengthening the Women Forum and the Youth Council and mandating them to promote gender mainstreaming, skills acquisition and job mobility.
8) Bridge the gap between region-specific research and policy by launching feasibilities for creating SCO Centers of Excellence on Poverty Alleviation, De-Radicalization, Connectivity, and New Technologies.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan, met all the leaders and attendees of the SCO Summit and also held meetings with President Xi, President Putin, and other leaders. It was his first in detail meeting with President Putin. It will open many new avenues of opportunities for Pak-Russia cooperation. In recent years, there have been positive trends in Russian-Pakistani relations. Bilateral intergovernmental relations were significantly intensified both in the context of Pakistan’s accession to the SCO and in the context of resolving the situation in Afghanistan. Relations between Russia and Pakistan in various fields are on the rise.
At the SCO summit, Imran Khan held a meeting with Kyrgyz President Soronbai Zheenkov. This meeting will serve as an additional impetus for improving bilateral cooperation in various fields, including trade and the economy. Because this is the first visit of Imran Khan to Central Asia after taking office as a new prime minister in August 2018. The visit carries high significance.
Pakistan is set to play an even more active and wide spectrum role in the SCO and contribute to the achievement of its goals and objectives while being the beneficiary of opportunities offered under SCO.