SCO summit summary | Editorial

Following the OIC meeting earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan met key regional leaders at the SCO this past week. He reiterated some similar points as he mentioned at the OIC such as rising Islamophobia. However, needing to focus more on local issues facing the regional population, member countries reiterated support for several projects, including Pakistan’s ongoing work with China, as well as poverty alleviation and economic development. One significant, albeit brief, encounter was PM Khan’s courtesy exchange with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even though brief, the sharing of pleasantries between the two key leaders may have been a foreshadowing of better things to come, in sync with the positive developments from the SCO summit altogether. As Pakistan waits for India to agree to bilateral peace dialogue, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has underscored that Pakistan is not a punk. It is deliberately choosing to take the high road and with full dignity, which has been the rhetoric since February when tensions were at the level of a war threat.
Reflecting on the respect given to Pakistan at the SCO, Pakistanis should feel motivated about future prospects of the country, at least as far as the regional economy is concerned. However, talks of better connectivity and promotion of tourism are perhaps lower priority than regional stability. Terrorism should have received more talk time in Bikshek; many of the member countries face the phenomenon, which hinders them from reaching full potential. In the past, terror attacks in Pakistan have been alleged to have been carried out by extremists with Uzbek or other nationalities.
Should Pakistan’s footing become stronger within the SCO, key world powers will want to be on more friendly terms with us. With important figures like Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani demonstrating respect towards Pakistan, countries like the US are certainly watching.
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