SAARC Interior Secretaries review ways to enhance cooperation

ISLAMABAD, Aug 3 (APP): Interior Secretaries from the SAARC states here Wednesday reviewed the progress made so far on agreed areas of cooperation and to finalize recommendations and proposals suggesting way forward for further strengthening of mutual cooperation through sharing of knowledge, experiences and expertise to overcome challenges facing the region.

The secretaries met a day before the meeting of SAARC Interior and Home Ministers and their suggestions would be placed before the Interior Ministers for their consideration and decisions.

As per the practice of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the meeting elected Interior Secretary of Pakistan Arif Ahmed Khan as the Chairman of the 7th meeting of SAARC Interior Secretaries.

In his remarks, the Interior Secretary welcomed the delegations to Pakistan and thanked them for electing him as the chairperson of the meeting.

Addressing the delegates, Arif Ahmed Khan said it was a matter of pride that the SAARC countries represent a region that shares common borders and cultural similarities.

The Secretary said, “We are not only tied by geographical proximities but also with historical linkages.”

“Our shared challenges demand collective response and SAARC provides the member states an exceptional platform to share and benefit from the wisdom and experience of each other.”

The Interior Secretary observed that the mandate of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries meeting covered a range of important issues related to terrorism, corruption,  narcotics and psychotropic substances, maritime piracy and other similar issues.

He said that the meeting would also be discussing the Conventions on Suppression of Terrorism and the Additional Protocol and Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Stressing upon the need for greater cooperation, the Interior Secretary noted that although significant progress had been made in the related areas since the 6th meeting of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries that was held in September 2014 in Kathmandu, a sizeable amount of work was still to be done by this forum.

He expressed the hope that result-oriented recommendations of Interior Secretaries would help Interior/Home Ministers of the SAARC countries to take decisions in the greater interest of the region and the people of the member states.

The Secretary also commended the immigration authorities from the SAARC member states for their valuable input and said that their recommendations would add an impetus to the ongoing process of forging greater cooperation among the SAARC member states.

Arif Ahmed Khan also thanked Secretary General of SAARC Arjun Bahadur Thapa and his technical team for their efforts and contribution in holding of the 7th meeting of SAARC Interior Ministers.