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June 20, 2021

Moeed in Dushanbe to attend SCO moot

ISLAMABAD: National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf is expected to represent Pakistan at the 16th meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Council, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe (Tajikistan). This will be an in-person meeting from June 23-24.

Tajikistan is the chair of the grouping. It took the chairmanship at a meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council in November of 2020, and a protocol meeting already took place earlier this month.

It is expected that national security advisers of all eight member states, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will be in attendance.

Confirming Moeed Yusuf’s participation, an official at the Foreign Office said that at this time logistics are being worked out for the visit and just in case there was always the option of participating virtually through a Zoom call.

During the visit, Dr Moeed Yusuf may also meet with his counterparts from Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and China to discuss matters of mutual interest, say official sources.

India’s and Afghanistan’s NSAs, Ajit Doval and Hamdullah Mohib have already confirmed their participation and all eyes are now on a possible meeting between Pakistan and India on the sidelines of the meeting. So far sources say in both countries that no requests from either sides have been made for a pull aside meeting but that nothing can be ruled out either.

But the office of the NSA has confirmed that Dr Moeed Yusuf will not be meeting his Indian counterpart who will also be attending the SCO summit.

“It may be remembered that Prime Minister Imran Khan has already reiterated Pakistan’s stance that there will be no dialogue with India till it revisits its illegal and unilateral action of August 05,” the NSA office added.

In September 2019, Ajit Doval stormed out of the SCO’s virtual meeting of the NSAs after taking offence on a Pakistan map that was displayed by Moeed Yusuf.

There were missed opportunities for meetings between Pakistan and India both in March and April when Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar participated at Heart of Asia conference in Dushanbe and later when they were in UAE for bilateral visits.

Moeed Yusuf’s bilateral meeting with Hamdullah Mohib is less likely after reports that Pakistan has conveyed to the leadership in Afghanistan it will no longer conduct official business with Kabul’s top national security chief because of his recent “abusive outburst” against Islamabad.