Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday on a two-day trip during which he will attend the 22nd annual meeting of the Council of Heads of State (CHS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and Defence Minister Khawaja Asif are also accompanying the premier. Uzbekistan PM Abdulla Aripov received Shehbaz upon his arrival at the airport.
Shortly after arriving, the prime minister visited Khizr Complex and paid his respects at the mausoleum of Uzbekistan’s first president, Islam Karimov.
On the first day of his two-day visit, the prime minister will hold separate meetings with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.
The prime minister is scheduled to meet other world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov.
However, Foreign Office Spokesman Asim Iftikhar earlier told Dawn PM Shehbaz had no plans to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
An official, when contacted, said though a brief courtesy meeting between the two was possible, they would not be holding talks as none of the two sides had sought a meeting.
‘Pakistan reiterates commitment to Shanghai Spirit’
Prior to his departure, PM Shehbaz took to Twitter to share his views on the SCO summit.
“The global economic turbulence has necessitated the need for more cooperation among SCO member countries,” he said, adding that the “SCO vision” represented the aspirations of 40 per cent of the world’s population.
“Pakistan reiterates its commitment to ‘Shanghai Spirit’. Mutual respect and trust can be the bedrock of shared development and prosperity,” he said.
“The SCO has great potential to chart a way forward at a time of deeply worrying transformation in geo-political & geo-economic fields,” he concluded.
The premier will be participating in the CHS meeting on the invitation of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who will chair it.
“At the forthcoming event, the SCO leaders will deliberate on important global and regional issues, including climate change, food security, energy security, and sustainable supply chains,” Radio Pakistan said.
They will also approve agreements and documents that would chart the future direction of cooperation among SCO member states.