Pakistan set to become full SCO member

Agencies/Islamabad
June 9, 2017 INTERNATIONAL 167 Views

A handshake and some pleasantries between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi is all the two nations can expect on the sidelines of the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan starting today (June 8).
Both the nuclear-armed neighbours will be inducted as full members of the SCO in the summit.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will participate in the meeting of the Heads of State Council (HoSC) of the SCO on June 8 and 9.
The HoSC is the highest decision-making body of the SCO, which meets annually.
The last summit was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in June 2016.
Pakistan has been an observer with the SCO since 2005.
Pakistan applied for full membership of the organisation in 2010.
The decision, in principle, to give membership to Pakistan was taken by the SCO Heads of States meeting held in Ufa, Russia, in 2015.
The SCO meeting would also explore the possibility of Iran joining the group.
While the full membership was already decided, the peace lovers from Pakistan and India expected a meeting between Sharif and Modi on the sidelines.
The efforts in this regard were not good enough to announce a formal meeting.
This week, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj ruled out a formal meeting between Modi and Sharif in Astana.
Pakistani officials said since India had shown no intent, Pakistan did not press for a meeting.
A senior official at the foreign office told The Nation that Pakistan believed India should initiate contacts for bilateral talks as they were the ones who suspended the dialogue process.
“We have always been ready for talks. India is discouraging the dialogue process so it should show some change by making contacts for meetings. We can take it from there. We never ruled out the PMs’ meeting in Astana too. They absolutely ignored this option,” he said.
The official said that the two PMs might still go for a handshake and share pleasantries as a formality.
“Bilateral meeting is not on the agenda. But you never know if the prime ministers unexpectedly sit together,” he added.
Pakistan and India are presently engaged in a legal fight over the convicted spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case at the International Court of Justice.
Pakistan is also considering to somehow drag India to the ICJ on the Kashmir issue.

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