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Pakistan to host SCO Heads of Govts summit in October

by Haroon Amin
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According to Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a spokesman for the Foreign Office, Pakistan will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Governments summit in October of this year on Thursday.

She announced that prior to the October summit, there would be a ministerial meeting and several rounds of meetings with senior officials to focus on promoting cooperation amongst SCO member countries in the areas of finance, economics, socio-cultural affairs, and humanitarian efforts.

She emphasised that Pakistan will take over the rotating Chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (CHG), the second-most important decision-making body within the organisation, in 2024, signalling a major turning point in Pakistan’s relationship with the SCO.

She informed the media that Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, along with other top cabinet members, had paid bilateral visits to Tajikistan and Kazakhstan for the SCO Council of Heads of State and SCO Plus Summits.

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The prime minister also took part in the first-ever Pakistan-Azerbaijan-Turkey Trilateral Summit during the SCO Summit in Astana.

Enhancing comprehensive collaboration between Pakistan and Tajikistan on regional and global problems of mutual concern was the main emphasis of his meetings in Dushanbe.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement, which includes planned high-level talks including leaders and foreign ministers, was signed by Pakistan and Tajikistan during the visit.

She claimed that Gazan medical students are now able to finish their studies in Pakistan thanks to permission from the government. The Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC) decided to allow Gaza students to continue their medical studies in Pakistan for humanitarian reasons, following the directives of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar.

She stated that Palestinian students from Gaza, in groups of twenty to thirty, will shortly enrol in Pakistani medical schools. of order to meet the urgent demands of Gaza’s healthcare system, the decision will allow Gaza students to finish their medical studies in Pakistan in the specialties of cardiology, orthopaedics, oncology, paediatrics, and surgery.

In response to a recent International Religious Freedom report, she said that unilateral studies evaluating the human rights conditions of other nations were biassed politically and gave an inaccurate and incomplete image. She continued, saying that there is a lack of transparency in the approach used to prepare these reports as well as the writers’ qualifications and mission.

According to the spokesperson, Pakistan would keep helping the people of Kashmir in their efforts to find a fair and peaceful solution to the conflict, in line with the resolutions of the UN Security Council. This support will be moral, political, and diplomatic.

Speaking about the relationship between Pakistan and India, she stated that in accordance with the 2008 Consular Access Agreement, the two countries exchanged lists of inmates under their respective jurisdiction.

She said that Pakistan’s perspective on the current state of affairs in Afghanistan was provided by Ambassador Durrani. He underlined Pakistan’s commitment to helping Afghanistan out of its economic predicament and emphasised the threat presented by TTP-led terrorist operations operating out of Afghan sanctuaries.

A bilateral meeting between Pakistan and the Afghan Interim Government took place on July 1, 2024, she claimed, with promises of a stable Afghanistan. The two parties discussed important topics of shared interest, such as security and peace.

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