ASTANA – Pakistan formally has become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during the 17th meeting of the Heads of the State Council summit held here on Friday.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev made an announcement in this regard after signing of documents by the founding members at the conclusion of 17th SCO summit.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif along with his delegation attended the meeting of the Heads of State Council of SCO. Prime Minister’s Advisor Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir and Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal were accompanying the prime minister.

President of China Xi Jinping, President Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Afghanistan Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Belarus Alexandar Lukashenk and President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj in their speeches also extended felicitation to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

Earlier, a welcoming ceremony was held here in which Prime MinisterMuhammad Nawaz Sharif was warmly received by Kazakh president in the powerful Eurasian body.

Pakistan has been an Observer with SCO since 2005 and applied for full membership of the organization 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 Heads of State Council is the highest decision-making body of SCO which meets annually. Pakistan fully subscribes to the Charter of SCO and the “Shanghai Spirit”. As an Observer, Pakistan has been actively participating in the activities of the organization.

Pakistan shares with the SCO and its member states, deep-rooted historical and cultural links, as well as strong economic and strategic relations. – APP

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