ZHENGZHOU - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday arrived in China to represent Pakistan in an important meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will chair SCO’s Head of Government Council (HoGC) meeting today in Zhengzhou city of China’s Henan province.

Pakistan and India were expected to participate in this key moot as full members – as was decided in the SCO summit held in the Russian city, Ufa. But both states are attending the event as observer states because of the lethargy shown by New Delhi, a senior diplomat confided to this correspondent.

The diplomat said the two states were given the status of full member in the Ufa summit for which they were required to submit drafts of several conventions and memoranda of understanding.

“After return from Ufa, Pakistan’s Foreign Office wasted no time and communicated its readiness to furnish them at any given date. But for some unknown reasons, India could not prepare its part of the required documentation and the issue of granting full membership lingered till the next SCO summit, so both India and Pakistan would be attending this mega event as observers,” he explained.

Why India has been reluctant to avail itself of this opportunity of becoming the full member of this vital forum is anybody’s guess. However, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attaches great significance to this forum and believes that future of developing countries in this region belongs to SCO.The prime minister is heading a delegation that includes Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sahrif, Federal Planning and Development and Reforms Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad and other senior officials.

After welcome ceremonies at the Zhengzhou International Airport, the prime minister was to be driven to Crown Plaza Hotel in the heart of the city, located very close to the SCO meeting venue – the International Convention and Exhibition Centre.The prime minister and selected members of the delegation would then attend a reception being hosted by Premier Li Keqiang at Sheraton Hotel.