Pakistan hosts first meeting of SCO after becoming full member


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua has said that with a consumer market of over 200 million people, vast business potential and a rapidly modernizing infrastructure, Pakistan offers the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) enormous opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

In her statement at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) Legal Experts Meeting being held in Islamabad from May 23-25, 2018 in Islamabad, Tehmina Janjua said that Pakistan’s historical and cultural ties, as well as strong economic and strategic links with the SCO members, can act as an enabler in realizing the SCO’s vision.

Tehmina Janjua said that the SCO holds special significance for Pakistan. She said that we take pride in becoming a full member of the SCO last year – an organization that offers a unique new model of inter-state cooperation for peace, security, connectivity and sustainable development.

The foreign secretary said that the SCO holds tremendous potential for connectivity, trade, energy and economic development. It can lead to progress and prosperity for our entire region, she said.

“We look forward to bringing further vitality to this vibrant organization,” she said.

Tehmina Janjua said that Pakistan is cognizant of the threats posed by terrorism, separatism and extremism to our region and beyond. She said that having fought terrorism, we have lost thousands of our citizens and law enforcement personnel, with many more injured.

“We have also suffered economic losses of over US$120 billion,” Janjua said, adding that but neither the human nor the financial losses have diminished Pakistan’s resolve to fight menace of terrorism.

The foreign secretary said that through our comprehensive efforts, over the past several years, supported by a firm domestic political consensus, we have been able to turn the tide.

Janjua said that our National Counter Extremism Policy focuses on the Rule of Law, Service Delivery, Citizens Engagement, Media Engagement, Integrated Education Reform, Reformation, Rehabilitation, Reintegration, and Renunciation of terrorism by extremist elements and Promotion of Culture as its major facets.

Tehmina Janjua said that we now look forward to working with regional Countries under the umbrella of SCO to effectively eliminate this menace from our region. In this regard, Pakistan fully supports and welcomes the efforts of SCO-RATS in the fight against “three evils” of terrorism, extremism and separatism, she added.

In addition, she said that as a new member, Pakistan would continue to complement these efforts.

“We support SCO consensus that as we engage in the fight against terrorism, we must respect the norms and principles of international law, UN Charter and shun “double standards”,” she said.

Tehmina Janjua said that terrorism cannot and should not be identified with any religion, individual countries or nationalities.

The foreign minister said that we strongly believe that SCO-RATs is an ideal forum for exchange of views and best practices on countering terrorism and extremism.

“We hope that other member states can benefit from our rich experience in countering terrorism and extremism as we do from the good practices developed by other SCO members,” Tehmina Janjua said.

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