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The 14th SCO Heads of Government Meeting

14th SCO Meeting of the Council of Heads of Governments

Security remains precarious the world over

The 14th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of Government meeting, was held in Zhengzhou, the capital city of central China’s Henan Province, from December 14 to 15, 2015. The participants of this 2-day meet included prime ministers of the six SCO member states — China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — and of the observer countries of Afghanistan, Belarus, India (through its representative), Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan. The Issues like cooperation in trade, investment, finance, transportation and culture were discussed by the heads of governments. The meeting was another important conference for the SCO after the Ufa Summit in July, aiming to strengthen bilateral relations and regional cooperation.

As security situation remains precarious almost all over the world, because of the new phenomenon of terrorism, different regional and global forums are understandably focusing on the challenge with a view to adopting joint strategies for the purpose. That is why the 14th SCO Heads of Government meeting laid emphasis on the issue related to terrorism and regional security as most of the heads of the states and governments spoke on its different aspects in their speeches.

Representing Pakistan the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rightly underlined the need of collective move to confront extremism and terrorism when he said that “Armed conflicts continue to rage in several parts of the world, unleashing forces beyond the control of anyone.”

He further pointed out that the need of collective move to confront such challenges of terrorism and extremism because “the security situation around us remains precarious. We are seeing the threat to state sovereignty and territorial integrity.” And, to counter terrorism, “We have to identify common values. Our diversity can serve as a positive force, to promote harmony and advance avenues of cooperation and shared prosperity.”

What the Prime Minister said deserves to be given serious consideration, as no part of the world is secure today. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to associate or link extremism and terrorism to Islam and its followers and this flawed perception is giving rise to the problem as Muslims are being treated with suspicion and meted out discriminatory treatment. The fact remains that no revealed religion preaches violence or terrorism and instead Islam exhorts that saving one life amounts to saving the entire humanity. It may also be pointed out that it is for over a decade that the world is focusing on terrorism and employing different tactics to address the menace but the major emphasis has always been on use of force. However, we have witnessed that the use of gun by the state in response to use of guns by non-state actors has given birth to more extremism and terrorism. Terrorism being a state of mind needs to be addressed in an all-encompassing manner including education, awareness, fighting poverty and disease and addressing political disputes in a fair and just manner. We hope that instead of going for hackneyed approach, leaders and governments would come out with realistic solution of the problem as per ground realities.

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