Pakistan looks to SCO for full membership | Pakistan Today

Pakistan looks to SCO for full membership

President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday announced that Pakistan would host an international conference on narcotics and called for a full membership of the SCO to further advance the agenda of peace, security and development, elimination of narcotics, chocking funding for militancy, fighting insurgencies and overcoming lack of development of the region.
He was addressing the 12th SCO Summit in Beijing. President’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said the president drew attention to the challenges for region arising out of Afghan and Iraq wars, militancy and proliferation of drugs and called for greater collaboration in enhancing regional connectivity through air, rail and road links and building mega energy pipelines straddling across the region. Pakistan was strategically located to play a critical role in realizing goals of SCO, the president said. Zardari said Pakistan was proud of its association with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and fully subscribed to SCO’s ideals and values.
He said Pakistan was keen to work with the Organization as a full member. “Together we can usher in a secure and prosperous future for the entire region”, the President said. President Zardari said the organization was now 11-years-old and its mandate had grown as had its global and regional importance. He said the SCO had become a powerful vehicle for the promotion of regional cooperation and economic integration. Zardari said Pakistan wanted to further strengthen its relationship with the organization by becoming its full member.
President Zardari pointed out that our desire for full membership is driven by our identification with its objectives.
On Pakistan’s pivotal role in war against terrorism, President Zardari said Pakistan was a victim of terrorism.
“Over 38,000 Pakistani civilians and armed forces personnel have laid down their lives in this struggle,” he said, adding that “our economy has also suffered a loss of 70 billion dollars”.
“Yet, the people and armed forces of Pakistan are determined to fight this war to the very end”, he noted.
The president said he knew fighting terrorism had been a priority for the SCO as terrorism posed a grave threat to its vision of achieving economic integration in the region.
He pointed out that there could be no peace in the region without peace in Afghanistan.
He said Pakistan believed that military action alone would not solve the problem, adding that there must also be political outreach and economic development. Zardari said Pakistan fully supported efforts for ending violence in Afghanistan through a national reconciliation process that was driven by Afghan people.
The president said that “despite the global financial crisis and an unfavorable security situation in the region, our government has restored economic stability. This was necessary for generating growth, creating jobs, and improving the quality of life of our people”. Sitting at the crossroads of Eurasia, Central Asia and Western China, Zardari said Pakistan could offer access to its highways and ports to our friends in the SCO. He said Pakistan could be a catalyst for regional economic integration and connectivity. President Zardari also congratulated Afghanistan on becoming an SCO observer state and Turkey as Dialogue Partner Status.

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