The Prime Minister’s two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan to attend the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on Thursday is a continuation of the state’s attempts to work towards lasting regional stability and peace. The Prime Minister’s attendance at a Head of State summit which President Arif Alvi was supposed to attend tells us of the government’s earnest approach in conducting security dialogue with other countries in the region.

While no meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and his counterpart Narendra Modi was scheduled on this occasion, India’s initial request to allow the Indian PM’s plane to fly over Pakistani airspace was granted by state authorities in Pakistan but then later withdrawn by Indian authorities as they chose to fly a different route. Normally, a decision to take a certain route might not imply all that much, in the case of foreign dignitaries, it speaks volumes and many are looking at the Modi government’s change of route as a decision to not engage with Pakistan at this summit.

Given the SCO’s focus on regional stability and cooperation in issues concerning security and economics, ever since becoming a member in 2017, Pakistan has played a key role in meetings of the SCO and has actively participated in the all-important issue of finding a peaceful end to the conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s commitment towards assisting in Afghan-owned peace dialogue between the state and the Afghan Taliban has been reiterated time and again by various state functionaries. This meeting is likely to see a reaffirmation of Pakistan’s stance and will hopefully lead to some new answers for breaking the current deadlock between the forces of the Afghan Taliban and the US in conjunction with the Afghan government.

Apart from this, the Prime Minister’s visit to Bishkek will lead to meetings on the sidelines with heads of state of other countries such as Russia, China among others and looking to improve cooperation on economic issues is most likely at the top of the Prime Minister’s agenda. With the government scrambling for more investment into Pakistan’s economy through both domestic and foreign sources, asking friendly nations to assist in rebuilding efforts might just prove to be fruitful. It is hoped that the Prime Minister and his staff are attending this meeting with tangible investment opportunities in mind, instead of merely making generic speeches and then hoping for the best.