Dr. Huma Baqai (IR Expert): Shanghai Cooperation Organization is gradually gaining importance as an important regional forum. Certain issues including bilateral relations, economic ties, and ways to combat terrorism and extremism will be addressed in the meeting. Initially, Pakistan and India were observers of this organization but have now become the permanent members of SCO. After the withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, there are new trajectories in the region. The recent telephonic communication between the Russian President and Prime Minister Imran Khan on Afghan situation is a positive development. Pakistan has consistently tried to strengthen its relations with Russia and now Moscow is reciprocating. At this point of time, Pakistan is pursuing its foreign policy on two main pillars of connectivity and balance. Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay a two-day official visit to attend 20th SCO's Heads of State Summit in Dushanbe and will have bilateral meetings with other world leaders on the sidelines. The Afghan Taliban after taking complete control of Afghanistan have assured the international community that they would comply with international norms. Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran and Turkey have chosen to engage with Afghan Taliban so that Afghanistan does not become a hub of terrorism once again.
Brig. (Retd.) Haris Nawaz (Defense Analyst): The upcoming summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization is very important in the context of prevailing developments in the region, especially the current situation in Afghanistan. The important regional stakeholders including Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China are concerned about how to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and to avert a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country. In my opinion, a new bloc in the region consisting of China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and central Asian states is emerging. The telephonic discussion of the Russian President with Prime Minister Imran Khan for at least two times in a month is a clear sign that Islamabad is an important partner and Russia is giving top priority to Pakistan in current developments. The United States always asked Pakistan to Do More whereas Islamabad always wanted bilateral relations on equal footings. The prime focus of the new bloc will be to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan because a stable and prosperous Afghanistan is vital for the region.
Najam Us Saqib (Former Ambassador): Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an important forum and the upcoming summit can be analyzed in three aspects. First aspect will be SCO itself where regional connectivity, trade and strategies to facilitate other countries will be discussed. The second aspect will be bilateral. Tajikistan is hosting the SCO summit. Prime Minister Imran Khan will hold one on one meeting with Tajik leadership to be followed by delegation level talks. The focus will be on strengthening bilateral relations, economy and trade. Tajikistan is a friendly nation to Pakistan and an important country of central Asian states. The third aspect is the prevailing Afghan situation. The Afghanistan shares its border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Iran and China. The SCO forum will definitely come up with some strategies to avert the emerging humanitarian crises in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO forces. A mutual consensus among the major regional stakeholders is necessary to ensure a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
Brig. (Retd.) Mehmood Shah (Defense Analyst): Pakistan is probably the only country in the world that has defeated the menace of terrorism successfully. The world acknowledges the efforts of Pakistan in this regard. This is a case study for other countries to follow that how Pakistan tactfully defeated terrorism. The low intensity operations are still going on in the country to wipe out terrorism from its roots. However, some terror incidents still occur unfortunately. I am hopeful that Pakistani forces are very professional and capable to root out terrorism completely from the country. The tragic incident that occurred today in the District Asman Manza area of South Waziristan is highly condemnable in which our seven soldiers embraced martyrdom. The sponsors of these coward terrorists are no more in Afghanistan and the terrorists are taking their last breath. Some anti-Pakistan elements within the country are making propaganda to defame our forces but the nation is united against these elements and has completely rejected them. With the help of Allah Almighty, Pakistan will get rid of these elements soon.