Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has arrived in Kazakhastan to attend the 17th meeting of the Heads of the State Council (HoSC) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) beginning in Astana today.
The HoSC is the highest decision-making body of SCO which meets every year. Its last summit was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in June last year. During the two-day summit, Pakistan will be given full membership of SCO. Pakistan had applied for the body’s membership in 2010.
The decision, in principle, to give membership to Pakistan was taken during SCO Heads of the States 2015 meeting held in Ufa, Russia. Pakistan has been actively participating in the activities of the organisation being as an observer with the SCO since 2005.
The prime minister, on the sidelines of the summit, will hold a number of bilateral meetings with leaders of other participating countries. PM Nawaz is accompanied by Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir and Minister for State for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan.
Pakistan fully subscribes to the charter of SCO and the ‘Shanghai Spirit’ and shares deep-rooted historical and cultural links with the organisation and its member states. The SCO is expected to help Pakistan underscore its interest in regional peace, stability and development and its support for regional cooperation against terrorism and extremism.
Besides the SCO Summit, Kazakhstan is also hosting the International Expo 2017, in which more than 100 countries including Pakistan are participating. The premier along with other participating SCO Heads of States will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the exhibition.