ISLAMABAD  - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Wednesday that Pakistan looks forward to working with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a full member to steer the region towards more prosperous and a secure future.

He said this in his address to the 11th SCO Heads of Governments Council meeting.

Kaira has been representing Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who was invited to attend the meeting but due to his engagements here he nominated Kaira to represent him.

He said that Pakistan would like to work for the shared prosperity of the region because we all realise that security does not only require military action, but is also built on a strong economy, political stability and better standard of living of the people, said a Press release received from Bishkek. Kaira said that the SCO members are aware that Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism for the past two decades.

We have fought war against the forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism. Almost 40,000 Pakistani civilians and military personnel have lost their lives during this struggle, he said.

This has immensely hampered our economic growth and cost us almost US$80 billion, he stated. Pakistan realises that terrorism is a major threat for the countries of the region and for the SCO, he added.

Kaira said that Pakistan appreciates SCO’s role in promoting regional security and cooperation. He said we believe that with its experience SCO can play an important role in promoting peace and stability in the region.

He said that Pakistan would like to engage more with SCO in financial and banking sectors as well as taking new initiatives in the fields of energy, transport and telecommunications.

He further said that Pakistan fully supports Afghan government’s efforts for putting an end to violence and bloodshed in Afghanistan through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation and integration process.

He thanked the Government of Kyrgyzstan for gracious hospitality and for providing an opportunity to express appreciation for the commendable performance of the organisation during last year.