H. E. Mr. Arjun B. Thapa, Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) paid an introductory visit to Pakistan from 2 to 3 June 2014.
During the visit, H. E. the Secretary-General called on H. E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; H. E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs; and H. E. Mr. Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.
During H. E. the Secretary-General’s call on H. E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan values SAARC as a dynamic regional platform for building economic synergies, deepening regional integration and bringing the people of South Asia together. H. E. the Secretary-General expressed encouragement over the Prime Minister’s recent visit to India and hoped that this visit would give further impetus to the SAARC process.
During H. E. the Secretary-General’s call on H. E. Mr. Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, the Advisor reiterated that Pakistan is fully committed to the principles and objectives of the SAARC Charter to promote the welfare of the people of this region through effective regional integration. He further stated that Pakistan is a vibrant member of SAARC and hoped that despite several impediments, SAARC will become a catalyst for regional development.
H. E. the Foreign Secretary hosted a luncheon in honour of H. E. the Secretary-General which was also attended by Envoys from the SAARC Member States based in Islamabad, Federal Secretaries, Directors from three SAARC Regional Centres and high officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the calls on the high dignitaries, H. E. the Secretary-General apprised them of the current status of regional cooperation under the auspices of SAARC with particular reference to intra-regional connectivity and economic integration. H. E. the Secretary General briefed them about the follow-up on the decisions taken during the recently concluded Inter-summit Session (the Maldives, 20 February 2014), inter-alia, including preparation of the Terms of Reference to conduct a Study to review and analyze existing engagements and experiences with Observers and to make a proposal on the establishment of dialogue partnership and preparation of the performance matrix/fact sheet on the functioning of each Regional Centre.
H. E. the Secretary-General of SAARC was accompanied by his spouse, Mrs. Pabitra Thapa and Mr. Ahmar Ismail, Director, SAARC Secretariat, during the visit.