ZHENGZHOU: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for collective efforts to confront the challenges of extremism, terrorism, human and drug trafficking , environmental degradation and natural disasters.

Addressing the SCO Summit in the in Chinese city of Zhengzhou, he said the security situation in the region remains precarious and the menace of terrorism has become even more serious. He said militant ideology needed to be countered through a comprehensive joint strategy.

He said the SCO has a special role to play in regional stability. We have to identify common values and build on them to promote harmony and shared prosperity.

Emphasizing the need for enhanced regional connectivity, Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan has a unique geo strategic location and is ready to play its role to achieve the objective of connectivity. He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor project will serve as a means to achieve the dream of development.

Referring to the expansion of the SCO, he pointed out that in UFA Summit, Pakistan and India were accepted in principle as the permanent members of the organization. He said Pakistan has made considerable progress to complete its internal processes and to accede to the relevant treaties of the SCO.

He said Pakistan enjoys deep-rooted economic, trade and cultural relations with the members of the SCO.

Addressing the moot, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the SCO countries will have to work out a comprehensive security policy. He said the SCO should also focus on improving infrastructure and development of human resource.

He proposed that the SCO also establish a bank for promotion of trade activities within the member countries.

Established 14 years ago to tackle regional terrorism and security issues, the organization is putting more focus on economic issues this year.

Leaders from the member states, as well as observer countries, will issue a declaration on regional economic cooperation.

This will stress support by member states of regional development strategies, including the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Infrastructure and finance will be a priority in cooperation.

And member states are also expected to discuss the establishment of an SCO free trade zone and SCO development bank.