Home > Article > Pakistan’s SCO membership: Analysis

Pakistan’s SCO membership: Analysis

Pakistan’s SCO membership: Analysis

Many sages and muses have tried to decipher the mysteries of the East trying to define the seduction of Central Asia. The mysterious Khyber Pass has been a desideratum magnet for traders and a polestar for for ambitious invaders. Narrating the pull of the Hindukush, Herodotus vividly describes Greek conquests of Bactria and beyond in the prose and poetry under the titles of Illiad and Homer. Rubyard Kipling placed the mysteries of the Khyber inside an enigma. While Kipling eloquently weaved tales like “The Man who would be King“, he also extolled his fellow countrymen to carry the White Man’s Burden to civilize the natives through conquest and colonization.

Fitzroy MacLean tries to describe the intentions of the great powers in “Eastern Approaches” and Phillip Glazebrook describes the enigma of the Macedonian proclivity for Persian conquest in Journey to Khiva. Paddy Docherty eloquently describes the long history of the Khyber Pass in his well researched monograph titled “The Khyber Pass: A History of Empire & Invasion. Lord Curzon wrote much about the Pass, as did the British Blue Blood Sir Henry McMahon. Lenin of course had great interest in the Oxus, and took over the six Turkish republics into the USSR. Today Eric Morgalis and Pepe Escobar write reams about the Pipelines and “Great Games” of Central Asia. Mr. Morgalis harps on the Pakhtuns and seems to have an agenda which he clearly hides when he weaves his tales. Mr. Escobar milks a cliche as if he had discovered a new continent. He thinks his cute cliché gives him credibility to incessantly repeat his dated machination inside “Pipelinistan“.

Will Pakistan be accepted into the SCO? It all depends on Russia. There is not other opposition in the group. Russia on previous occasions has demanded Bharat’s inclusion along with that of Pakistan. Bharat however is not longer interested in the SCO, and Delhi’s relations with Moscow have soured. So Islamabad may soon become a member of the SCO. The SCO is considering the membership applications of Iran and Pakistan. While there is much discussion of Iran on the agenda, whose absorption into the regional grouping would be seen as a provocative step, there is almost no opposition to the membership of Pakistan.

It may be noted that Uzbekistan currently holds the chair of SCO.
The President said that Pakistan would appreciate Uzbekistan support to Pakistan in this regard. He said that being a key player in the international war against terror, Pakistan is ready to be associated with SCO’s Regional Counter-Terrorism structure which is currently based in Tashkent.

Look North Policy: Pakistan’s membership of the SCO will surely improve Pakistan’s standing with the Central Asia republics which has been one of the foreign policy objectives of Islamabad.

Pakistan desires to have a full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) so that it can actively participate in the group’s activities in the region, President Asif Ali Zardari said.

Talking to Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov, Zardari said Pakistan wants to have a full membership of SCO, an inter-governmental security organisation founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Xinhua reported Thursday. Sify News. 2010-04-02 03:40:00

Pakistan’s move towards the SCO is in its national interest, because it already enjoys a fraternal relationship with China. The SCO membership with build its relationship with Russia and consolidate the ECO–the future of Pakistan.

Pakistan enjoys the status of an observer along with India, Iran and Mongolia in the organisation. Uzbekistan currently holds the presidency of the SCO.

‘Pakistan would appreciate Uzbekistan’s support to Pakistan in this regard,’ Zardari said.

He said Pakistan, being a key player in the global war against terror, is ready to be associated with SCO’s regional counter-terrorism structure based in Tashkent, the Uzbek capital.

Zardari said Uzbekistan has an important role to play in promoting peace and security of the region. Being contiguous neighbour of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan can not only contribute toward peace and stability but also to the development of transport and energy corridor, which would facilitate promotion of economic stability and peace of the region, he said. Sify News. 2010-04-02 03:40:00

Three seminal events predicate the inculcation of Pakistan into the group led by China and Russia. The first event was the Trilateral pact on Afghanistan between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 2nd seminal event was the regional conference on Afghanistan which included all the neighbors of Afghanistan. The third major event was the London Conference where several dozen countries including the USA, the UK, China, and Russia were in attendance. All three conferences endorsed the Pakistani point of view–and rejected the others. President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minster Mahmud must be given full credit for navigating the Pakistani foreign policy from the choppy waters of 2008 towards the blue skies seen in 2010. The Pakistani-US Strategic dialogue consecrated Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan–clearly enunciated by President Obama during his six hour after-dusk visit to Afghanistan.

The conflict in Afghanistan and expanding its membership to include Iran and Pakistan are key issues facing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the coming year, its new head said.

“In the current global context, the top priority is finding a solution to the Afghan issue,” Secretary-General Muratbek Sansyzbayevich Imanaliev said during a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

The fear is that instability within Afghanistan’s borders, where Taliban fighters are challenging the U.S. and NATO-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, could well spill over into neighboring countries.

The SCO is a security grouping dominated by Russia and China that also includes the four Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was initially established in 2001 to primarily deal with concerns over terrorism, separatism and extremism.

“All member countries of the SCO are making active contributions to the Afghanistan issue, including economic cooperation and energy support,” Imanaliev said.

He said the security bloc is assessing membership applications submitted by Tehran and Islamabad. The group is currently reviewing its criteria for new membership. He did not specify when a decision would be made on their bids.

It is obvious, that all the neighbors of Afghanistan endorse and hail Pakistan and its seminal role in Central Asia. The issue of Pakistani membership would not have come up if Russia and China had not considered it a worthwhile venture. China has supported Pakistan’s membership. However the membership was held hostage to Russian insistence on Bharati inclusion into the SCO.

Both Bharat and Pakistan were kept on the SCO as observers. However with Bharat leaning more and more into the US camp, there is much anxiety in Russia. As Bharat and the US have changed sides in the global chess–it seems that Pakistan too is on the anvil of joining the Russian and Chinese camp.

A geographical bloc of Pakistan with the former Soviet republics, along with China and Russia will transform Central Asia and give them access to the Arabian Sea–and the waters of the ocean. If Russia plays its cards right, Catherine the Greats dream of reaching the warm waters will finally come true under the Zardari watch.

Discussions on expanding the group’s membership is not surprising, although that doesn’t mean Iran and Pakistan will soon join, said Niu Jun, a professor at Peking University’s School of International Relations.

Niu said he expected there would be lengthy discussions first, especially on Iran, which would be seen as a provocative move.

“If Iran joined, it would drastically change the original function of the SCO, which was dealing with the terrorism threat with cooperation from China’s neighboring countries. The joining of Iran would mean that the meaning of SCO has totally changed,” he said.

China and Russia also see the group as a way to increase cooperation on financial issues, and consider it a counterweight to U.S. influence in the energy-rich, former Soviet states of Central Asia. Iran’s participation would boost that energy cooperation.

Imanaliev said member states are planning to step up cooperation on regional security issues, particularly anti-terrorism efforts, as well economic cooperation.

A summit among the six member nations is planned in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, later this year, though no date has been set.

Another conference on peace settlement in Afghanistan is supposed to take place in Kabul at the end of the year, the official China Daily newspaper reported.

There is tremendous energy and excitement about the SCO among the members.

China rail integrates Afghanistan, Tajikistan, & Pakistan. China is known for walking silently and brandishing a big stick. The Chinese plan to link Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan via a rail link is a seminal event in the history of their region. This news item did not make a headline in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Very quietly China is beginning to encroach upon Afghanistan and ensuring that it is integrated with the economies of Tajikisan, Western China and Pakistan. Linking Tajikistan and Afghanistan to Gwader is a very strategic step that will pay dividends in the long run.

Indeed, the cost of building so much infrastructure in a volatile security environment like Afghanistan is prohibitive for many private firms. But Niklas Norling, an expert on China and Central Asia at the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development, says the price tag is tolerable for a Chinese state firm because the project contributes to Beijing’s plans for the development of western China and its regional trade links.

Moscow. February 4. Kazakhstan Today – SCO Secretary General, Muratbek Imanaliev, said during video-press conference Moscow – Beijing that strengthening of the organization is one of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s goal (SCO), the agency reports.

“Further strengthening and improvement of intra organizational solidarity and unity is an important objective, despite all the achievements which have been reached during the previous years,” M. Imanaliev informed.

SCO Secretary General said that SCO has serious goals on strengthening and development of economic cooperation as in the organization, with the countries of our organization and other countries as well.

“We also need to create and reconstruct certain mechanisms, including contacts and cooperation with the various international organizations, for example the United Nations and some other regional organizations.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was organized on June, 15, 2002. The structure of the organization includes six member countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan), four countries-observers (India, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan) and two dialogue partners (Belarus and Sri Lanka). http://engnews.gazeta.kz/art.asp?aid=140828

In the past few months Russia and China have invested lots of capital for linking Islamabad to Dushanbe and Fergana via rail and road networks. The ECOs physical network supporting the neural network that has been existence before Babur and Tamerlane came to the scene.

The China Peoples Daily, true to form, came out with a very stoic and neutral statement on the expansion of SCO.

In addition, procedures for Sri Lanka and Belarus to enter a dialogue partnership with the SCO are currently under review by SCO member countries for final approval, hopefully to be finalized at the Tashkent Summit this year, according to Imanaliev.

SCO has set up expert panels to establish principles and standards for incorporating new members. “One important principle is that the new member should be good for SCO’s growth and unification, not the other way round,” Imanaliev stressed.

“Enlarging membership is an important task for SCO at present and for a long time in the future. We will continue to enhance cooperation within the SCO framework,” Imanaliev said.

At present the SCO membership comprises: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaking earlier to Itar-Tass said that “active work is underway to prepare the SCO summit in Tashkent” this year. But no specific date has been set yet.”

Imanaliev added that the SCO will sign a series of bilateral memorandums with the dialogue partner countries to outline cooperation areas including economy, trade, science and culture.

Imanaliev said the major tasks facing the SCO are to develop a solution to terrorism in Afghanistan, to increase economic cooperation among the SCO members and to promote cooperation with other international organizations.

He said the SCO will continue to actively respond to the world’s anti-terrorism needs, and provide economic and humanitarian aids to Afghanistan for its peace and stability.

Zhang Deguang, SCO’s first secretary-general, said of the work plan for SCO this year. “It will carry on with its current work, including the activities of SCO-Afghanistan contact group, and continue to attend international meetings on the Afghan issue.”

The contact group, established with the purpose of developing proposals and recommendations on cooperation between the SCO and Afghanistan on issues of mutual interest, conducts its activity in the form of consultations.

At the international conference in London held on Jan 28, which was attended by the foreign ministers of SCO member countries, much attention was paid to the development of regional cooperation, including those within the SCO framework, aimed at making Afghanistan free of terrorism and drug crime.

The next conference on the peace settlement in Afghanistan will take place in Kabul at the end of this year. Imanaliev said new proposals will be raised to promote an earlier resolution.

Mentioning cooperation on energy, Imanaliev highly praised and promoted the “Energy Club” proposed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last year during his visit to Beijing.

“The Energy Club should have multiple roles including collection and analysis of information, energy export and import under the Business Council of SCO,” Imanaliev said.

The Business Council is a non-governmental body which brings together the most members of the business communities of the six SCO members with the aim of boosting economic cooperation in the framework of SCO. Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is assessing Iran and Pakistan’s applications for membership and reviewing its criteria for membership, the new SCO Secretary-General Muratbek Sansyzbayevich Imanaliev told a press conference yesterday in Beijing. SCO appraises membership of Iran, Pakistan By Cheng Guangjin and Yang Xue (China Daily) Updated: 2010-02-04 07:57

For Pakistan, one of the seminal events of the year was not the SCO conference but what went on the sidelines. The most important meeting for Islamabad was the meeting with the Russian Russian president Dmitri Medvedev. Iit is pedagogical to note the positive assurances given by the Russian Prime Minister Mr. Putin to Pakistan. The very positive statements about Pakistan came in the aftermath of the Shivajee like embrace of Mr. Manmohan Singh, who during the embrace with the great Khan stabbed him in the heart. Mr. Manmohan Singh also threw an insult at Mr. Zardari during the first peace meeting in a few years.

  • June 22nd, 2009 Genral Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, discussed enhancing ties between armies of the two countries with General Vladimir Boldyrev, Commander-in-Chief Russian ground forces.
  • June 10 2009: (RIA Novosti) – Russia is ready to provide Pakistan with assistance in its fight against terrorism, President Dmitry Medvedev
  • Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told a Russian business daily his country wants to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. RIA Novosti
  • June 16 (APP) – Pakistan and Russia on Monday vowed to open a “new chapter” in their relationship with joint collaborative efforts to boost their economic ties
  1. Salahuddin Ranjha
    February 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    inclusion of pakistan in sco would surely open the warm waters for russia and could be a step to form a regional economic camp like EU and would be able to controle the stage with rhe enegy resevoirs in CARS and offcourse with the help of china and russia the organisation would be the driver………..so idealistic but can be true

  2. February 23, 2011 at 1:54 am

    gud article!

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