This article is a compilation of notes on Pakistan and its participation in regional organizations like ECO, SCO, and how it can improve its relations with the member countries keeping in view its Foreign policy goals.
Pakistan and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)
The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an inter-governmental organization involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations part of the South-central Asian Union.
Economic Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental regional organization established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey for the purpose of promoting economic, technical, and cultural cooperation among the member states.
ECO’s secretariat and cultural department are located in Tehran, its economic bureau is in Turkey and its scientific bureau is situated in Pakistan.
It was the successor organization of what was the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), founded in 1964, which ended activities in 1979.
In the fall of 1992, the ECO expanded to include seven new members, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The organization was founded by Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.
Progressive removal of trade barriers and promotion of intraregional trade; the Greater role of ECO region in the growth of world trade; Gradual integration of the economies of the Member States with the world economy;
Development of transport & communications infrastructure linking the Member States with each other and with the outside world;
Pakistan’s potential in telecommunication, agriculture, food, industry, trade, and many other sectors made it significant as it can play its role in the betterment of the rest of the member nations by providing them with assistance financially and technically both.
Pakistan and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
The SCO, previously known as the “Shanghai Five,” is made up of major and minor players; while China and Russia are the main attractions, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan sit on the sidelines.
At the time of its (SCO) inception in June 2001, it had confined itself to a few globally accepted and appreciated objectives of eradication of terrorism, ending extremism, and curbing the proliferation of drugs.
Objectives of SCO:
Eradication of Terrorism: Asia being one of the populous continents with many other socio-economic dilemmas is famous for having breeding places of terrorists. Anarchy-stricken areas like Afghanistan and Iraq along with countries having widespread internal insurgencies like those of Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, and Pakistan provide feasible conditions for the growth of terrorism. Curbing of this dilemma is a need of the hour and a joint move in this regard is really desirable. Keeping in view the looming threat of any terrorist attack the first and the most important objective of this forum is to end terrorism in the region.
Ending of extremism: Extremism is the state of mind where a person becomes hostile and tries to impose his own views and ideology on others by the use of any possible means like force, threat, etc. It is the product of a hopeless mind, a sense of deprivation, injustice with a huge contribution to widespread social ills like poverty, illiteracy, and social inequality. Hence another very important regional problem has been included in the objectives so that a joint effort could be extended in its addressing.
Curbing of poppy cultivation: Asian region is one of the most important areas where drugs are supplied to the whole world. Again it is a place of origin of the major global threat. Countries like Afghanistan and Iran are famous for the production of opium. From here it is supplied to its neighbors and the Central Asian states where it is converted into heroin and is supplied worldwide. To make the region free of this menace SCO has included its eradication as its third objective.
Promotion of mutual trade and cooperation: Mutual trade and cooperation are key to the economic success of any regional forum. Observing worldwide it is clear that the groupings having immense mutual trade and cooperation are the most prosperous and developed ones like NATO and ASEAN. On the other hand lack of mutual cooperation and trade has impeded the economic prosperity of regional groupings like ECO and SAARC. Therefore promotion of mutual trade and cooperation is the sine qua non for the economic growth of the region and SCO stresses it enthusiastically in its objectives.
Containing US hegemony: the US is extending its role in an unacceptable way for the materialization of its sinister global ambitions. It is curbing the rise of any possible rival by its own regional manipulations in its own region and by promoting the pro-US nations in the other regions of the world. An example of such activities is the attitude of the US towards Venezuela in its own area of influence and the nuclear feeding of India in the Asian region to make it a bulwark against China. So, China and Russia are having a parallel desire of containing the US hegemony in their part of the world. For this purpose, they encouraged the Central Asian Region to ask the US to end its military bases in its territory. Moved by the patronage of China & Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan asked the US to dismantle its bases. Hence, one of the shared objectives is the containment of the US in this part of the world.
Benefits for Pakistan: Balance in Foreign Policy, Enhancing of economic activity, trade, and economic cooperation, the Best utilization of its strategic location, Materialization of energy projects.
Joining all SCO members with Roads-New Silk Road: For now, the economic cooperation of the SCO has been compared – by Xi Jinping and others — as a new Silk Road. For China, security at the SCO takes a backseat to oil. China’s investments in Kazakhstan alone are staggering, including most recently Beijing buying up an 8.4 percent stake in the Kashagan oil field (a US$5 billion deal) in the Caspian Sea. Central Asia is crucial to diversifying China’s oil imports.
For complete Pakistan Affairs notes click here.