A two-day international conference on Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)’s Role in Regional Stability and Prospects of its Expansion” will be inaugurated at a local hotel on Wednesday, said a press release.
The SCO has assumed greater importance in the light of the present government’s stress on speeding up economic development through fast paced implementation of its mega projects in the field of energy, communications and transportation.
Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and Germany’s Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) are hosting the conference.
The conference is an important event from Pakistan’s point of view which with its present Observer status has been keenly pursuing its interest in becoming a full member of the SCO whose influence in regional affairs has vastly grown since its inception in 2001. Besides China and Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are its full members. Its activities now, inter alia, cover military cooperation, intelligence sharing, and counterterrorism. SCO’s full membership will allow Pakistan to diversify its foreign policy and enable it to play a more effective role in the stability of the region.
Trade and economic cooperation are also the key areas of interest for Pakistan, since Central Asia has a large reservoir of energy, natural resources and work force. With the development of the Gwadar Port, Pakistan can become an energy and trade corridor for SCO countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2013.