Dateline Astana | Mona Alam

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lands in Astana, Kazakhstan, on a chilly afternoon today to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit 2017.

This 17th edition of SCO Summit holds special importance for Pakistan as its status will be elevated from an Observer to a Full Member of the SCO.

Pakistan, along with India, will take the SCO members to 8, others being China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Russia.

Related: Pakistan becomes full member of China-led SCO

Primarily, the aim of the SCO is the improvement of security related situation among the member countries and to take concrete steps for further betterment of the same.

Pakistan has had more than its fair share of terrorism and extremism related problems and this summit will provide a strong and well attended platform to Pakistan to share ideas and find solutions to the security threats being faced by the region in general and Pakistan in particular.

Along with these issues, promotion of economic activities and social cooperation among the member countries has also been part of every SCO Summit that has been beneficial to member nations.

Another interesting development this year will be the presence of Indian PM Modi and PM Nawaz Sharif under one roof.

Although both the camps have ruled out any scheduled meeting on the sidelines of the Summit but many eyeballs will be stuck on the two for any informal rendezvous that could start the ice melting process between the two estranged neighbours.

Also, for future it will provide an opportunity to the Indian and Pakistani heads of states to visit each other’s countries as both will be hosting this Summit as per the alphabetical order turn in Russian language.

All in all, becoming an SCO member is something Pakistan will benefit from. It will help Pakistan’s goal of becoming an emerging Asian power.

What to expect from the SCO Summit when it starts in the morning at Astana?

I’ll keep you guys posted on PM’s activities all the way from Astana. Cheers.

Astana updates:

Sharif meets Ghani

PM Sharif meets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Astana on the sidelines of the SCO Summit. The meeting lasted for one hour that is twice the duration expected.

Bilateral counter terrorism strategy discussed and pointers will be given through a joint press release by Pakistan and Afghanistan. Blame gaming should end and evidence must be provided for any interference.

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