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Pakistan looks forward to working with the SCO as a full member: Kaira

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira said Wednesday that Pakistan looks forward to working with the (SCO) as a full member to steer the region towards more prosperous and for a secure future.

He said this in his address to the 11th SCO Heads of Governments Council Meeting. Kaira has been representing Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf who was invited to attend the meeting but due to his engagements here he nominated Kaira to represent him.

He said that Pakistan would like to work for the shared prosperity of the region because we all realize that security does not only require Military action, but is also built on a strong economy, political stability and better standard of living of the people, said a press release received from Bishkek.

The Information Minister said that the SCO Members are aware that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism for the past two decades. We have fought war against the forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Almost 40,000 Pakistani civilians and military personnel have lost their lives during this struggle. This has immensely hampered our economic growth and cost us almost US$ 80 billion, the minister stressed.

Pakistan realizes that terrorism is a major threat for the countries of the region and for the SCO. It restrains us from achieving economic connectivity and integration in the region. For this reason, we attach great importance to SCO’s counter-terrorism efforts. We would like to work with SCO’s Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure bases in Tashkent, the minister added.

Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Pakistan appreciates SCO’s role in promoting regional security and cooperation. He said we believe that with its experience SCO can play an important role in promoting peace and stability in the region. It has the capacity and expertise for evolving regional mechanisms for combating the emerging security and politico-economic challenges.

He said that Pakistan would like to engage more with SCO in financial and banking sectors as well as taking new initiatives in the fields of energy, transport and telecommunication.

The minister further added that Pakistan also welcomes SCO’s decision to accept Afghanistan as an Observer State and Turkey as a Dialogue Partner to the SCO. Pakistan has a special place for Afghanistan, it being our neighbor and also because of the historical, political and economic connection. Turkey has always been a special friend of Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan wishes to see a prosperous, stable, independent and united Afghanistan. Information Minister said that Pakistan fully supports Afghan government’s efforts for putting an end to violence and bloodshed in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation and integration process.

Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Pakistan was the first Observer State to apply for full membership in 2010 and therefore, our support to the SCO’s objectives and committed participation builds our strong credentials for full membership of the Organization.

He thanked the Government of Kyrgyzstan for gracious hospitality and for providing an opportunity to express appreciation for the commendable performance of the Organization during the last year.

Other Heads of Governments also addressed the 11th Council meeting. In the end, joint communique was also signed. Earlier, on his arrival on the conference venue, the Information Minister was received by the Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan.

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