Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif attended the inaugural Session of the 18th SAARC Summit, which began today in Kathmandu. The Summitwas preceded by the meetings of the SAARC Programming and Standing Committees and Council of Ministers, which set the stage for leaders to approve recommendations and express political commitment to the SAARC processes.
The Prime Minister in his policy statement highlighted that the South Asian region was home to a quarter of world’s population with largest concentration of youth making transition to adulthood. He said that it was imperative that we place our people’s aspirations at the centre of the SAARC processes. The Prime Minister informed about the Government’s recently launched initiative, called Pakistan Vision-2025, which puts people first in its development plans. While highlighting the strengths of SAARC countries, he urged cooperation in dealing with challenges such as natural disasters, a commonly recurring phenomena faced by all members. The Prime Minister stressed the need for political commitment towards deepening the regional integration through connectivity by putting in place the requisite infrastructure. He underscored Pakistan’s go-strategically advantageous location in the region to act as a natural economic corridor.
The Prime Minister in his statement also offered to host the next SAARC Summit in Islamabad. Pakistan had earlier hosted the 4th and 12th SAARC Summits in 1998 and 2004, respectively.
SAARC, which was founded in December 1985, has eight members and nine observers.
The Retreat and concluding Session of the Summit will take place tomorrow.