Following India’s decision to alter the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit format to a virtual gathering with no reason, the Foreign Office has stated that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will attend the meeting digitally.
The regional summit is slated for July 4 in New Delhi, India, and member countries such as Pakistan, Russia, and China will participate virtually. Even if the ceremony had been held in person, Russia and China would not have been able to attend.
In the weekly briefing, FO spokesman Mumtaz Zahra Baloch claimed that Pakistan had received an official invitation to the virtual meeting from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pakistan’s participation at the summit will be revealed in the coming days, she said.
Baloch referred to a statement made by the foreign minister, emphasising that Pakistan would not negotiate with individuals responsible for killing Pakistani civilians and law enforcement officials. She did, however, add that Pakistan is still engaged with the interim Afghan management in Kabul, but she did not go into any detail.
Baloch emphasised the importance of counter-terrorism and added that Pakistan works with the interim Afghan administration on a regular basis to combat the threat of terrorism. She expressed optimism that the pledges made in the trilateral result declaration signed by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China would be kept in order to keep Afghanistan from becoming a source of terrorism and instability for neighboring countries.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is also set to visit Japan on July 2-3. He will meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa in Tokyo during his visit.