Pakistan acquired the status of observer in SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) in 2005 and became full member in June 2017, along with India. The membership of SCO means a lot for Pakistan. Some of the significance of SCO membership for Pakistan has been discussed below.
Since security is one the basic objectives of the SCO, Pakistan can easily use this platform to ensure her security and raise her concern about certain security challenges. Regarding security challenges the country can utilize this organization to highlight the following obstacles in its achievement.
1 India’s Back Terrorism
Pakistan can effectively highlight India’s back terrorism in the region generally and in Pakistan particularly. She can easily present her case in the meetings of Council of Head of State, Council of Head of Governments and Council of Foreign Ministers by producing the proofs such as the statement of former spokesman of Tehrek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan and the imprisoned Indian spy Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav. Similarly the cease fire violation on LoC (Line of Control) by the Indian army is another very serious issue not only for the two hostile states, possessing atomic power, but for the whole region. The hostile and stubborn behaviour of India can be easily understood by her furious attitude on LoC on the following day after getting full membership at SCO. Pakistan can easily win her case if she present it effectively.
Another very delicate issue, that may pose threat for the whole region, is Kashmir issue. SCO members are well aware of the issue and Indian atrocities in the region. Pakistan along with Indian hostile attitude can present the case of Kashmir people before the SCO members for solution.
2 Issues With Afghanistan
Since Afghanistan has an observer status at SCO and she is struggling to get full membership, it is best chance for Pakistan to solve her all issues such border dispute, terrorists’ sanctuaries across the border and backing TTP terrorists to carry terrorist activities in the region especially in Pakistan. Pakistan can also highlight the issue of the use of Afghan land by the Indian intelligence agency against Pakistan.
Like Afghanistan, Iran also has an observer status at SCO. Border dispute between Iran and Pakistan emerged from time to time. SCO provides Pakistan a best opportunity to solve this and other problems with Iran.
Pakistan is one of the most terrorism affected countries that has lost not only thousands of civilians but also hundreds of soldiers but unfortunately her efforts for peace promotion and war against terrorism were never hailed by the western countries. Also the western countries have always exploited the land of Pakistan for personal objectives and agendas. Contrary to Western countries and Western blocs, SCO provides Pakistan a best chance to not only share her experience with the member states but also learn from them and get favour from them in war against this menace.
5 Human And Drugs Trafficking
Pakistan can use this platform to solve these issues which are not only the problems of Pakistan but also of the other nations.
6 Pakistan’s Security
If Pakistan becomes successful in persuading the Central Asian Republics to participate in CPEC, this will increase the security of the state because by becoming a multi states’ project, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would make Pakistan a centre of joint interest for all the participating states.
Another objective of SCO is economic development of the member states. For this, the organization focuses on interstate trade and transactions. This is very useful especially for Pakistan on many grounds, detail of which has been given below
1 Trade With CARs
SCO membership will help Pakistan to strengthen her bilateral relations with CARs (Central Asian Republics) and engaged her-self with them in many bilateral and multilateral trade relations. These small republics are rich in natural resources and in future they expected to be the centre of all major trade activities. This puts Pakistan in perfect position to become their corridor for trade with the rest of the world.
2 Energy Needs
Pakistan is an energy deficient state and it needs energy sources especially natural gas to keep her industry run continuously. As Central Asian Republics are energy resources rich states, Pakistan can easily fulfil her need by developing trade relations with these states.
3 SCO And CPEC
CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) if integrated properly with SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) it will not bear fruitful results only for Pakistan but for the whole region as well. The founder states of SCO direly need access to warm water to carry on their trade activities and to connect them with the rest of the world. This increases the worthiness of CPEC more which has the ability to connect them with the world. For Pakistan, this means more trade at Gwadar and more use of the trade routes and in return more stable economy.
C Regional Integration
SCO membership will also help Pakistan to become an important member and player in concluding the diplomatic decisions and activities of the region. It is useful for the country in the following ways.
1 Integration With CARs
Being the only atomic Muslim country, Pakistan bears an important status in Muslim world. SCO membership will help Pakistan to consolidate her relations with the Muslim majority states of Central Asia. Being the brotherly Muslim states their relations with Pakistan will see a new height of friendship, trust and integration. Similarly Pakistan can play a leading role among them.
2 Political Integration
SCO membership is a strong blow to those who were boasting of Pakistan’s political isolation. By now they might have understood the importance of Pakistan in global arena and their illusion of Pakistan’s political isolation.
3 Relations With Russia
Last but not the least SCO membership also provides Pakistan an opportunity to strengthen her relations with Russia. The platform of SCO provides an opportunity of periodic meeting to the head of states of both the countries. An improvement in relations and increase in contact at national level has been observed between the two states over past few years. This clearly indicates the beginning of a new era of integration for both Pakistan and Russia.