Shared goals with SCO-III

Courtesy:- S Rahman

Building up a graceful image of Pakistan has been the hallmark of PPP-led government’s foreign policy as its leaders have been quite successful in presenting the country’s case to the world at large, with firm faith in our destiny that now seems to be in sight as a result of this devotion and commitment.

The same patriotism and conviction was witnessed during the recent visit by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira to Bishkek, Kyrgyztan, where he had gone to attend the 11th Heads of Governments Council Meeting of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization).

The stress on these terms ‘conviction, devotion and commitment’ is neither cosmetic nor aimed at praising the government for the sake of it. These positives are evident from their (PPP leaders’) actions that should be evaluated in the backdrop of country’s predicament, the difficulties that the country is confronted with for quite some time and which could have easily shaken the people on the top had they not been made of strong nerves. Of course, it was a test of nerves that the PPP government has been through during all these years and hats off to PPP Co-Chairperson and President Asif Ali Zardari and his efficient team that did not surrender to these harsh circumstances and, instead, continued their fight with perseverance. The PPP government also remained undeterred by ugly happenings including the escalation in acts of terrorism, sectarian killings and enemy-sponsored violence with a countrywide gloom.

And whenever they got an opportunity at any regional or international forum, these leaders have been highlighting the internal and external dangers facing Pakistan in the broader context that also afflict the entire world with specific reference to rampant terrorism.

Kaira too seized the opportunity provided by the meeting to make the comparatively self-sustaining member-countries 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. This concept of security, as elaborated by Kaira, is universally recognized and it ought to be adopted as a permanent policy guideline so as to ensure better future for the masses.

And what can be termed an achievement on the part of our information minister, was his courageous re-focussing on Pakistan’s sufferings on account of terrorism. It was in fact an attempt of a nation that has suffered at the hands of an international phenomenon but, unfortunately, it did not receive the desired level of cooperation from the international community that would match the level of its (Pakistan’s) sacrifices. Kaira said, “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 and it has also immensely hampered our economic growth and cost us almost 80 billion US dollars.”

Here, Information Minister Kaira was also trying to remind the SCO members of their moral, regional obligations towards such a large chunk of population inhabiting this region of which Pakistan is an important part.

Many people opine that it was a wise decision on the part of Islamabad government to send a vocal, confident person like Kaira to represent the country at such an important forum. Kaira really proved his mettle at Bishkek as he took up almost all the issues of concern to the region, to the SCO and to the entire world of today.

And while committing to engage more with SCO in financial and banking sectors besides participating in new initiatives in energy, transport and telecommunication, Information Minister Kaira expressed his belief that with its experience, SCO could play an important role in promoting peace and stability as it also possessed the capacity and expertise for evolving regional mechanisms for combating the emerging security and politico-economic challenges.

He also pressed upon Pakistan’s formal request for full membership for which it applied to the Organization in 2010 while being the first Observer State to do so. The minister told the SCO members that Pakistan’s support to the SCO’s objectives and committed participation during the last two years, built its strong credentials for full membership.

“We look forward to working with the SCO as a full member so that together we can steer the region towards a more prosperous and secure future. Pakistan would like to work for the shared prosperity of the region.”

However, while talking about shared prosperity and common economic goals, the information minister took the opportunity to once again highlight the impediments especially the impediment of terrorism: “Pakistan realizes that terrorism is a major threat for the countries of the region and 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.” Kaira also welcomed SCO’s decision to accept Afghanistan as an Observer State and Turkey as a Dialogue Partner to the SCO.


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