SCO — Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Should Pakistan join or not?
June 16, 2009 3 Comments
SCO’s predecessor, the Shanghai Five mechanism, originated and grew from the endeavor by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to strengthen confidence-building and disarmament in the border regions. In 1996 and 1997, their heads of state met in Shanghai and Moscow respectively and signed the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions and the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions. The cooperation mechanism was later known as the “Shanghai Five”. 
Aims and Objectives of SCO:
The main goals of the SCO are strengthening mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among the member countries; promoting effective cooperation in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture as well as education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields; making joint efforts to maintain and ensure peace, security and stability in the region, moving towards the establishment of a new, democratic, just and rational political and economic international order. 
Pakistan and the SCO:
Being a part of SCO means enhancing the country’s strength economically, strategically, defensively, militarily, touristic, and security-wise. Pakistan could gain a lot by infixing in this organization. 2006 was the first time when former President Musharraf joined one of the summit of SCO in Shanghai — with Pakistan under an observer status. Since 2006 to date, Pakistan has remained under the observer status, albeit government of Pakistan has been a part of SCO summits with the same observer status.
There has been a host of speculations about SCO going to be equivalent to NATO. It seems that Russia wants SCO to be a militarily strong organization — equivalent to NATO. But then, China, volitionally wants SCO to be an organization which can boost the economic sphere within its member countries along with countering terrorism in the region. So far, China and Russia both have kept their wants in stable state and working together to tone it up.
I guess, Pakistan has a great opportunity to come out from the slavery of US and be a part of SCO which is strengthening its basis day-to-day. But it seems that the current government of Pakistan is also reluctant to make Pakistan a part of SCO. A couple of days back President Zardari went to Russia to take part in annual SCO summit. No positive and favorable results emerged this time as well. Okay, it’d not be a childs play for Pakistan to join SCO while knowing the facts that Russia wouldn’t be favoring it under a silent thought that Pakistan’s inclusion in SCO will make China’s position more strong in SCO. But that’s just more of speculation. Although Russia as yet doesn’t seem much happy with Pakistan due to Pakistan’s significant role in Soviet-Afghan war which lead USSR to collapse. This perceptible event hasn’t disappeared from the minds of Russian Communist Government and they haven’t forgotten the wounds they encountered — but still Russia and Pakistan has bilateral diplomatic ties and okay relations amongst. Anti-US factor is one thing which has kept Russia to start developing ties with Pakistan once again. Pakistan has kept its ties with Russia too. It seems incoherent, but that’s Russia — never forgetting the cold war and the collapse of USSR due to US intervention — the same USSR which once was a claimed superpower in the world, not US — and the same USSR which sought for the Korea when Japan escaped after 2nd world war — but had to hold back just on North Korea when US intervened and took hold on South Korea. Before that, Vietnam war too, anyway.
If the speculations about Russia reluctant to give Pakistan full membership unless India doesn’t join SCO is true perchance, then Pakistan should stress China to help her getting full membership of SCO. Sino-Pak relations have always been good in the past where both the countries have helped each other at several occasions — Pakistan recognizing PRC (China) while snubbing ROC (Taiwan), helping China in getting UN membership, and reciprocally China helped Pakistan in VETOing against Kashmir Issue in UNSC, the Sino-Indian war was a portal for Pakistan to get more close to China, so on and so forth.
It’s never too late to take a good decision when one is in position to take. It truly is a favorable time for Pakistan to think about getting full membership of SCO before it genuinely gets late.
What do you think: Should Pakistan join SCO?