Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Kazakhstan on Thursday to participate in the two-day meeting of the Heads of State Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at Astana.

Heads of State Council is the highest decision-making body of SCO which meets annually. Pakistan has observer status at SCO and will become its full member at Astana.

The decision, in principle, to give membership to Pakistan was taken by the SCO Heads of States meeting held at Ufa in Russia in 2015.

Foreign Office said Pakistan fully subscribes to the Charter of SCO and the “Shanghai Spirit,” and shares with the SCO and member states, deep-rooted historical and cultural links, as well as strong economic and strategic relations.

On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, the prime minister will hold a number of bilateral meetings with other participating leaders. He is also expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit.

Besides the SCO Summit, Kazakhstan is also hosting the International Expo 2017, in which more than 100 countries including Pakistan are participating. The prime minister along with other participating SCO Heads of States will also attend the inaugural ceremony of the expo.