This June, history took a new turn in the geopolitical scene of Eurasia when Pakistan and India made it to the permanent membership of Asia’s most prominent and rising regional gravitation center –Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) after the two years of the long process in an increasingly multipolar world.
SCO is setting and leading the current global world order covering more than half of humanity, having four nuclear powers in the group and nearly 20 percent of the global GDP. The two South Asian giants are the first to join as preeminent members with earlier six member countries, including the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, to foster the multilateral cooperation on security and other significant issues to address jointly.
The summit was held in Astana- Kazakhstan, where the membership documents were signed. In addition to the final Astana Declaration, the SCO leaders have signed ten other documents, including a convention on joint efforts against extremism and a declaration on the joint fight against international terrorism.
China has assumed the rotating presidency of the SCO and will host the next summit in 2018. The grouping is open to new applications for membership and is considering the candidacy of Iran backed by Russia; however, opposed by some members of the organization. The addition of a new member will provide a fresh impetus to the grouping with new dimensions and increase the alliance’s strength.
Since 2001, SCO has made visible and remarkable progress in holding several dialogues agreements, track II diplomatic efforts to resolve and find solutions to the regional conflicts, trade, regional connectivity issues, creating energy consortiums, Business Council, SCO Bank, SCO University, and several others.
Time is ripe for Pakistan and India to take the maximum advantage of the grouping and resolve all the existing differences for the sake of the suffering humanity in the countries and region as a whole.
The Astana summit remained significant as many countries from the forum endorsed the Chinese mega infrastructure initiative- the One Belt and One Road (OBOR), wherein the SCO is one of the motivating factors behind this BRI idea.
In the case of cooperation on terrorism, nearly all member states face the threat of radicalization, extremism, drugs, and threats from the non-state actors wherein the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) is essential.
The Astana Summit will be considered an important milestone in transforming the scope and purpose of SCO wherein an increase in membership, excellent security, and economic collaboration with tangible development initiatives have been finalized among the member states.
Hell broke loose this June with also wherein the terrorists hit hard across the world, especially in Afghanistan wherein right after the Kabul incident, hundreds of people were perished and wounded as a result of the bombing at the diplomatic enclave, another bomb blast and firing killed more people.
London, Melbourne, Heart, Iran’s Parliament, to name a few, the world is witnessing the rise of extremism and terrorism with ever-rising intolerance towards the others. In this whole picture, Pakistan remained at the front line in the War on Terror with scores of loss of lives in recent series of unfortunate incidents.
In Quetta, police officers were killed by the terrorist and later the deadliest of all event in Parachinar in the north of Pakistan where 78 people were killed and injuring more than 200 with twin blasts in a market. Pakistan was recovering from the incident when the next day’s second car bomb attack occurred in Quetta, killing innocent people near the city’s provincial police chief’s office.
If that was not enough, another attack took place in Karachi, where men attacked the police officers. While Pakistan was mourning these losses, just before Eid ul Fitr, which marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan, another heartrending incident made headlines across the world where an overturned oil tanker blew up, killing more than 200 people and injuring scores of others. Pakistan has a dreadful record of fatal traffic incidents due to poor roads, poorly maintained vehicles, and recless driving.
The country is still struggling with the prolonged chronic energy crisis and ever-rising deadly series of unnerved militant attacks. There is a need for joint efforts from all the sectors and from within and from the neighboring countries to begin to stop blaming Pakistan for all the ills in the region and soon to join hands to fight emerging challenges together.
This is the only way to come out from the growing insecurity syndrome across the region and beyond.
Next articleThe Diplomatic Insight July 2017
The Diplomatic Insight, Pakistan's premier Public Diplomacy Magazine, has been at the forefront of promoting Peace Through Informed Dialogue since its inception in 2009. With both print and electronic versions, this decade-old media house is offering research, analysis, and public diplomacy outreach to clients in Pakistan and across the globe. TDI is now offering Amazon Kindle Self Publishing Services to diplomats, ambassadors, political leaders, academicians, and other civil society leaders to be the next best-seller authors. With access to 11 global markets and the option to translate your work into 11 languages, you can reach up to 300 million readers worldwide and unlock your personal and country branding.