SCO’s ex­pan­sion to boost peace in the re­gion

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

IN a sig­nif­i­cant diplo­matic-cum-sub­stan­tial break­through, Pak­istan on Fri day signed Mem­o­ran­dum of Obli­ga­tions with the ob­jec­tive of ob­tain­ing the full mem­ber­ship of SCO at its heads of state meet­ing in Tashkent. In­deed this is a promis­ing de­vel­op­ment that will not only ad­vance Pak­istan’s pos­i­tive im­age in­ter­na­tion­ally but also bring tan­gi­ble po­lit­i­cal, se­cu­rity and eco­nomic div­i­dends.

To un­der­stand the true Shang­hai spirit, one needs to fa­mil­iar­ize with the SCO’s pri­mary ob­jec­tive and op­er­a­tional ap­pa­ra­tus. Whilst its de­clared ob­jec­tives are to strengthen mu­tual trust, friend­ship and good-neigh­bourly re­la­tions among the mem­ber states, the prime fo­cus is on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion. As rightly pointed out by Pres­i­dent Mam­noon Hus­sain while ad­dress­ing the SCO meet­ing, the or­ga­ni­za­tion pro­vides the gen­uine se­cu­rity over­hang under which Pak­istan can bet­ter fight the men­ace of ter­ror­ism. There is no deny­ing the fact that Pak­istan has paid heavy price in the war on ter­ror­ism both in hu­man and eco­nomic terms and it is still the num­ber one chal­lenge for the country, and af­ter get­ting full mem­ber­ship of the SCO, Pak­istan will not only be able to share its ex­pe­ri­ences with the mem­ber states but also ben­e­fit from their ex­per­tise to suc­cess­fully com­bat this men­ace that poses ma­jor threat to so­cio-eco­nomic fab­ric of the whole re­gion. En­try into SCO also en­tails im­mense eco­nomic ben­e­fits as it will help fur­ther en­hance re­la­tions with the Cen­tral Asian States and Rus­sia. With plans un­der­way to con­nect Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt with Eurasian Eco­nomic Union, role of Pak­istan in re­gional econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture projects will def­i­nitely in­crease be­cause the Kash­gar-Gwadar project - known as the CPEC - is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of the Silk Road belt. In fact, CPEC will bring SCO a step closer to achiev­ing its vi­sion of re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and pro­mote har­mony. Es­pe­cially in back­drop of re­cent events par­tic­u­larly agree­ment of Iran, Afghanistan and In­dia on Chah­ba­har, there was a grow­ing per­cep­tion that Pak­istan stands iso­lated, but the SCO mem­ber­ship in­deed will greatly serve to off­set that per­cep­tion. Fol­low­ing the launch of CASA 1000 and TAPI projects, this in fact, is yet an­other step to­wards Pak­istan’s re­gional in­te­gra­tion en­vis­ag­ing im­mense eco­nomic ben­e­fits. Fur­ther­more, with In­dia also be­com­ing a full mem­ber of SCO, we are con­fi­dent that this fo­rum will prove to be a use­ful plat­form for bet­ter in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia, and would help pro­mote peace and tran­quil­lity in re­gion.


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