Pakistan to play proactive role in making SAARC vibrant: President

President Asif Ali Zardari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday said that Pakistan would continue to play a proactive role to make the SAARC a vibrant regional organization as regional cooperation was an important engine of prosperity.

He said that changing political and economic landscape had enhanced the role of the SAARC parliaments, which were now well placed to plan and lead efforts for solving complex issues besetting the region. The President said this during a meeting with Meira Kumar, Speaker of Indian Lok Sabha, who called on him after the inauguration of 6th SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians Conference here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.Briefing about the meeting, Spokesperson to the PresidentSenator Farhatullah Babar said that matters regarding further promoting SAARC’s role in various fields, increased contacts of parliamentarians, regional issues and Pak-India bilateral relations were discussed during the meeting.

The President said that Pakistan attached great importance to the SAARC as it could play an important role in bringing the people of the member states together by promoting investment, trade and people-to-people contacts.He emphasized on enhanced people-to-people contacts among the SAARC member states and said that the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians was a vital instrument for promoting contacts among the peoples of the region.He commended the role of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians in promoting people-to-people contacts and thereby regional cooperation.

The President said that the need for regional cooperation had never been as great as it was today to meet the emerging challenges of ever growing population of the region.Discussing Pak-India bilateral relations, the President said that Pakistan was committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement with India and reiterated his call for the two countries to make determined efforts for friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations.He expressed satisfaction that the resumed dialogues between the two countries were progressing.
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he President said that Pakistan was keen to promote greater interaction between the parliamentarians from both the countries and noted that high level visits had significantly improved the atmosphere between the two countries.He hoped that bilateral parliamentary exchanges would continue in the future, which he said, would help promote people-to-people contacts, besides building mutual trust and understanding.The President said that finding amicable and just solutions to all outstanding issues was important for Pakistan and India to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region.

He said that the South Asia region had enormous potential and cooperation between the two countries was imperative to exploit this potential.The President recalled his recent two meetings with Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, one on the sidelines of the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran and second in New Delhi during his visit to Ajmer Sharif.He said that he was deeply touched by the warm hospitality extended to him in New Delhi and Ajmer Sharif.

The President also recalled his meeting with former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi during the fourth SAARC Summit held in Islamabad in December, 1988.Meira Kumar, Speaker of Lok Sabha, thanked the President for meeting and conveyed best wishes of the Indian leadership and people for the Government and the people of Pakistan.She said that her country desired good friendly relations with Pakistan and wanted to work together in coping with the common challenges and issues.

The Spokesperson said that Meira Kumar lauded President Zardari for his visionary leadership and sagacity in nourishing democracy in the country.Meira Kumar was accompanied by Prof. P.J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, T.K. Viswanathan, Secretary General of the Lok Sabha and Sharat Sabharwal, Indian High Commissioner.From Pakistan’s side, Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Husain Bukhari, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza and Deputy Speaker  Faisal Karim Kundi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Amad Khan, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, Maj ® Haroon Rashid, Special Secretary to President, Karamat Hussain, Secretary National Assembly, Alamgir Babar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other senior officials attended the meeting. – APP