Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday will address the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Council of Heads of State (CHS) meeting in Samarkand.
Shehbaz arrived in the historic city of Samarkand on a two-day visit on Thursday. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, and other officials.
On the second day of his visit, the prime minister attended the close-format CHS meeting at the Congress Centre along with world leaders.
At the beginning of the summit, the participants were welcomed by President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also in attendance.
The premier is expected to address the summit where he will highlight Pakistan’s stance and perspective on regional cooperation, particularly in light of emerging global challenges.
Pakistan, Azerbaijan express resolve to enhance bilateral cooperation
Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz met Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and discussed issues of bilateral interest. The meeting, held on the sidelines of SCO, focused on ways to strengthen the relationship between the two countries in diverse fields.
During the meeting, the premier underlined the importance of unlocking the existing potential in the relationship between the two countries by boosting bilateral engagement in the fields of trade, investment, agriculture, information technology, and tourism, according to a Radio Pakistan report.
“Shehbaz expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan for its support and solidarity with Pakistan as well as the provision of generous financial assistance for the flood-affected people and highlighted that the massive natural disaster caused by climate change called for urgent action by the international community to address this global threat.”
He went on to say that Pakistan and Azerbaijan had exemplary relations, deeply embedded in common history, faith, and culture.
Furthermore, Shehbaz reaffirmed Pakistan’s principled support to Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh and congratulated his counterpart on the historic success in the liberation of its occupied territories, the report stated.
“He also expressed condolences on the recent martyrdom of 71 Azeri servicemen in an unprovoked attack by Armenia and reiterated support for Azerbaijan’s right to self-defence in accordance with international law and in the protection of its territorial integrity,” it added.
The prime minister is also scheduled to hold meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines of the SCO summit, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of Kazakhstan Kassym Jomart Tokayev.
However, Foreign Office Spokesman Asim Iftikhar earlier told Dawn that 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.
On Thursday, the premier met several leaders including Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkiye’s Tayyip Erdogan and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi. In a tweet on the conclusion of the first day, he said that the meetings were focused on enhancing trade and investment.
“I explained the flood ravages due to climate change. Food and energy shortages present a real challenge to our shared development agenda,” he added.