ISLAMABAD: The Legal Experts Group Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO-RATS) took place in Islamabad from May 23-25. This was the first ever SCO meeting that was held in Pakistan since becoming a member of SCO in June 2017. Legal Experts from eight member states, namely China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the SCO-RATS Executive Committee participated in the meeting.
The SCO-RATS, based in Tashkent, was established by the member states of the SCO in 2001 to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism. As a permanent organ of the SCO, it is a regional forum for the exchange of views and best practices on countering terrorism and extremism. The highest decision-making body of the SCO-RATS is the council, which meets once in six months.
The decisions of the council of SCO-RATS are prepared and vetted by the Legal Experts Working Group, which meets three times before every council meeting. These expert level meetings are held in all members of the SCO on voluntary or rotational basis.
The meeting of the legal experts in Islamabad deliberated upon the agenda of the 33rd Session of the council of SCO-RATS, which will be held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in October 2018. Member states discussed various proposals for enhancing regional cooperation in countering terrorism and extremism. The legal experts also discussed administrative and organisational matters.
The hosting of the meeting in Islamabad demonstrates Pakistan’s commitment as a full member of SCO to the idea and working of the organisation. The participating countries appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.