ISLAMABAD - Reiterating Islamabad’s commitment toward ‘Shanghai Spirit’, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that they would play their part in achieving common pursuit of development and economic prosperity of member states of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

He was talking to visiting Secretary General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Rashid Alimov who called on him here Tuesday. It was the first visit of SCO Secretary General after Pakistan’s full membership of SCO.

The Prime Minister thanked Secretary General for his support in steering the process of Pakistan’s membership of SCO and reiterated Pakistan’s commitment towards “Shanghai Spirit” of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and pursuit of common development.

Pakistan shares with SCO and its members, deep-rooted historical and cultural links and strong economic and strategic complementarities. 

Highlighting Pakistan’s active participation in all the SCO activities; the Prime Minister appreciated that SCO has established itself as a significant and influential player in the international arena by leveraging its comparative advantages. Its unique and pragmatic portfolio of economic, trade, development, security and counter-terrorism cooperation distinguishes it from the other international organisations.

The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s support towards SCO’s connectivity initiatives and offered to connect CPEC with SCO’s 6 approved routes which would greatly enhance their vitality to become a conduit for linking Eurasian landmass, China, Russia and Central Asia with the Arabian Sea.

The Prime Minister also expressed support for various SCO’s initiatives including the establishment of SCO Development Bank, SCO Development Fund, SCO Business Council, SCO Interbank Consortium and SCO’s initiative on Small and Medium Enterprises. 

While expressing support for the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) the Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s strong opposition to the three evils of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

The Secretary General appreciated Pakistan’s active participation in all SCO activities.  He stated that the inclusion of new members like Pakistan has greatly strengthened SCO which has emerged as a true cross- regional and cross-continental organisation playing a multifaceted role in the world politics.

He said that SCO can enormously benefit from Pakistan’s experience in successful combating of the menace of terrorism, narcotics and drugs as well as its economic strengths and connectivity potentials.

Earlier, the SCO Secretary-General called on Minister for Communications Hafiz Abdul Karim.

During the meeting, the minister said that the expansion of road infrastructure in the region governing SCO countries would help bring economic, political stability in the region and help improve security situation of the regional countries.

He said that the SCO annual summit of the member states of the SCO held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, witnessed the signing of the intergovernmental agreement of the SCO member states on the facilitation of international road transport.

Later, National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Jawad Rafiq Malik gave a briefing about the road infrastructure projects in the country.

While apprising the SCO Secretary-General of the road infrastructure development plan initiated by government in the country, he said that although the CPEC was a bilateral project in nature, it could integrate people of South Asia, China and Central Asia for shared goals of development and prosperity.

He told the meeting that under the early harvest CPEC projects, 118 kilometers Thakot-Havelian project will be completed in March 2020 and 392 kilometers Sukkur-Multan Motorway is likely to be completed by August next year. He said that three more projects included 136 kilometers Raikot-Thakot section of Karakoram Highway, 210 kilometers Yarik-Zhob road and 110 kiolmeters Khuzdar-Basima section.