First in over six years, Pakistan FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in Goa for SCO meeting


While there was no bilateral meeting scheduled with Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar — both sides have denied requesting a meeting – Bhutto Zardari is expected to attend a dinner for the visiting Foreign Ministers.


Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is a Pakistani politician and the chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), but he does not hold any governmental position in the federal government of Pakistan at that time.

Later in the day, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reiterated that the decision to attend the SCO meet reflects Pakistan's commitment to the SCO charter.

"Pakistan's decision to attend the SCO Council of Minister of Foreign Affairs meeting in India reflects our commitment to the SCO Charter & multilateralism. We are committed to playing our part to advance our shared values of peace & stability in the region. We are all for win-win understandings based on connectivity, trade and mutually advantageous cooperation," he tweeted.

India currently holds the presidency of the SCO and had invited its members for the Goa meeting in January.

The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and security alliance that comprises eight member states - India, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined the organization as full members in 2017.

According to sources, a formal meeting between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Mr Zardari is unlikely to take place during the two-day Goa summit.

Mr Jaishankar had indirectly criticized the neighboring country during a recent interaction with the media in Panama City.

"It is very difficult for us to engage with a neighbor who practices cross-border terrorism against us. We've always said that they have to deliver on the commitment not to encourage, sponsor and carry out cross-border terrorism. We continue to hope that one day we will reach that stage," he said.