Pakistan committed to jointly work with SAARC to counter poverty, illiteracy: PM

ISLAMABAD, Aug 26 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Friday said that Pakistan remains committed to jointly work with the SAARC members states to get the people of the South Asian region out of clutches of poverty, illiteracy and other social ills.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the 8th meeting of Finance Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries here.

Prime Minister Sharif called for making the organisation more
efficient, practical and responsive to the expectations of people, and in this regard urged all SAARC member states, Secretariat, regional centres and specialised bodies to make coordinated, sustained and resolute efforts.

He said Pakistan believes in a SAARC solution to the regional
issues by fully supporting all the initiatives taken by it. He said
Pakistan also supported all initiatives taken under the SAARC.

He said Pakistan has also been a strong advocate for stepping up regional efforts to ensure energy security for sharing of indigenous sources of energy.

He said Pakistan believes that road, rail and air connectivity
were critical to the progress and prosperity of the region.

“We believe that Saarc must position itself to engage
interested states and organisations to develop win-win
complimentarities for social economic progress in the region.”

Prime Minister said the SAARC organisation was formed three decades earlier with a commitment to promote social welfare, improving quality of life and cultural development.

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Prime Minister Sharif said increasing interdependence and
common concerns have led to the need of finding regional solutions.

He said increasing connectivity, ease in communication, freer
trade and finding innovative solutions to hunger, poverty and food security has helped the world to enhance regional and sub-regional cooperation.

Sharif said progress has been made to counter the
impact of climate change, spread of diseases, economic spill-over and social evils were being dealt by joint strategies at regional level.

He stressed that interdependence calls for greater cohesion
among the SAARC member states.

Prime Minister Sharif said South Asia was a region of vast
opportunities endowed with abundant human and natural resources, having one-fifth of the humanity.

Its untapped wealth and under-utilised resources provide opportunities for development and prosperity of the region, he added.

He said to optimally harness its potential for peace and
prosperity of people, SAARC calls for a platform to collectively work for the region, free of economic constraints and social ills.

The prime minister shared Pakistan’s successful economic
comeback and said his government has brought economic stability  to the country.

“Our government is continuing with the reforms for
strengthening the legal, regulatory and supervisory framework aimed at safeguarding stability.”

He said the country’s reform strategy was aimed at enhancing ease of doing business and flow of foreign direct investments.

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He said upgrading by international financial institutions has brought the national economy on track.

He said performance of the banking sector was also steady with higher earnings and robust solvency. The trickle down effect of macro-economic stability was benefitting the masses.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan was ready to fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of the region.

“We believe that despite numerous challenges SAARC has made commendable progress in promoting greater regional integration in South Asia.”

The Prime Minister welcomed the delegates to Islamabad and hoped they would come up with useful recommendations to make the organisation more viable and effective.

He hoped the deliberations of the conference on Custom, double taxation, economic and financial cooperation and impact of global economic situation in South Asia region would definitely give more meaning to the SAARC economies.

He said the outcome of the meeting would complement the agenda of the 19th SAARC summit to be hosted by Pakistan on Nov 9-10.

The Finance secretaries of the SAARC member countries met here Thursday to finalize agenda for the Ministerial conference.

The event was attended by Finance Ministers, Secretaries,
heads of respective State Banks, senior officials and diplomats.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar welcomed the delegates and called for intensification of efforts for greater collaboration for the betterment of the people of the region and to make SAARC a successful regional organisation.