UFA - Pakistan’s full membership to the powerful Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was approved by its Council of Heads of State Friday here at its 15th Summit.

A statement from the PM House said Pakistan will now have to fulfill certain statutory and legal requirements before the country formally becomes a full member.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who led the Pakistan delegation to the Meeting of the Heads of States Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in a statement said Pakistan’s inclusion into the ambit of the grouping was a “turning point” in the history of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

“I am honoured to represent my country at this prestigious forum and am confident that SCO’s expansion would prove a watershed in the changing geopolitical landscape of the Eurasian belt,” the PM said.

He said Pakistan attaches great importance to its full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and said Pakistan shares with SCO and its member states, deep-rooted historical and cultural links and strong economic and strategic complementarities.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was created on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai (China) by Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Addressing the summit, Nawaz Sharif called for a strong regional collective response to confront the challenges of extremism, terrorism and drug-trafficking.

He said the SCO provides a useful forum to Pakistan in promoting peace and stability in South Asia, Afghanistan and Central Asia. “Cordial and mutually beneficial economic relations with SCO member-states will be our foreign policy priority,” he added.

“We believe that regional stability is the key to economic progress of nations,” he said and added peace in Afghanistan and Central Asia was crucial to regional connectivity and trade cooperation.

He said that SCO has major strengths of its own. The basic principles of its charter were sovereign equality of States,territorial integrity and mutual cooperation and security, he said.

XI WELCOMES PAK ENTRY INTO SCO

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing welcomes Pakistan’s upcoming entry into the SCO.

Xi made the remarks when meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif prior to the 15th SCO summit, which is set to start procedures for granting India and Pakistan full membership.

“China is willing to maintain close cooperation with Pakistan within the SCO framework,” said the Chinese President.

In his opening remarks Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Friendship with China is a cornerstone of our foreign policy.”

He appreciated the personal commitment of the Chinese leader to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Prime Minister thanked the President for the support China has extended to Pakistan in the country’s effort to become a full member of the SCO.

Pakistan and India are now among the five observers of the SCO, which currently groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

WANT MULTI-DIMENSIONAL TIES WITH RUSSIA: PM

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan attached great importance to its ties with Russian Federation and was keen to enhance these relations.

“We want a multi-dimensional relationship with Russia in the fields of trade, defence, energy, infrastructure, culture and other spheres,” the PM said in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the SCO Summit.

This is the first-ever meeting between PM Nawaz and President Putin in the historic Russian city.

“We are grateful to the Russian Federation for its support to Pakistan’s entry into Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as a full member,” the PM remarked.

Both delegations expressed the confidence that Sharif-Putin meeting would help raise the level of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

PUTIN BLASTS US ROLE IN AFGHANISTAN

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned the Islamic State group is reaching into Afghanistan, as he hosted a regional security summit drawing to a close.

“We noted the growing activities of the IS group militants who have extended their tentacles into this country,” Putin said at a press conference after a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the Russian city of Ufa. Putin said that a decade of international military presence there “did not bring about a quality change for the better in the situation” in security terms, while Central Asian states were worried that Islamist radicals will spread to their territories.