ISLAMABAD .: Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif is visiting Beijing to attend the meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), starting on Monday (today).
The foreign ministers will discuss issues related to peace and security at the international and regional levels and promotion of cooperation between member states
The meeting will finalise preparations for the forthcoming SCO Heads of State Council in Qingdao, said a statement issued by the Foreign Office here on Sunday.
The SCO is a forum for global and regional peace and security and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between member states.
Pakistan and India joined the organisation in June last year.
“We have been playing an active, responsible and constructive role in it in line with the Shanghai Spirit which calls for mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development. SCO is making remarkable strides in promoting understanding, coordination and cooperation in a wide array of fields. We will continue to play our role in meeting the objectives of SCO,” said Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is also attending the SCO meeting. It is, however, not clear if top Indian and Pakistani diplomats will have any bilateral engagements, although the charter of SCO encourages member states to resolve their issues through dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister will meet his counterparts at the CFM, including Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Relations between Pakistan and China have deepened in recent years with Beijing investing billions of dollars in Pakistan as part of its “belt and road” initiative.
Pakistan recently is also increasingly relying on China to offset the negative fallout of its worsening ties with the United States.
Recent media reports suggested that Pakistan is no more relying on the United States for its defence needs as China has replaced such a role.
Meanwhile, Pakistan strongly condemned “the heinous and reprehensible suicide attacks” that targeted innocent civilians at voter registration centres in Kabul and Baghlan provinces in Afghanistan on Sunday.
“We are grieved at the loss of precious innocent lives in this brutal act of terrorism,” said another Foreign Office statement.
“We express our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to the bereaved families and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.”
“Pakistan is confident that such attacks would not deter the resolve of the Afghan people to determine their own future through the exercise of their right to vote.”
“Pakistan reiterates its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and expresses solidarity with the government and people of Afghanistan in this hour of grief and sorrow,” the statement added.