PM meets Nepalese president, premier
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday during a visit to the SAARC Secretariat on Tuesday stated that Pakistan attaches great importance to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and has always strived to make it a vibrant vehicle for regional cooperation based on the principle of sovereign equality.
He noted that SAARC had immense potential for strengthening the economies of the member countries and promoting collaboration in various areas of mutual significance.
He emphasised that the organisation needed to continue to strive in achieving the economic, cultural and social growth of the region. He stressed the need for an increased level of connectivity among the SAARC member states for a prosperous region.
PM Abbasi said that Pakistan, at all meetings of the SAARC, had advanced its belief that a secure and peaceful environment in South Asia was crucial for the advancement of region’s development and prosperity.
He said that as the host of the next SAARC summit, Pakistan looks forward to convening the summit at an early date and assured that the country would play a positive role in further strengthening regional cooperation.
SAARC Secretary-General Amjad Hussain Sial said Pakistan was playing an important role in SAARC and has previously hosted two summits. He said that holding SAARC summits means renewing impetus amongst the member states.
Later, PM Abbasi planted a sapling of pine in the premises of the SAARC Secretariat.
ABBASI MEETS NEPALESE PRESIDENT, PREMIER:
PM Abbasi also met with Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari at Sheetal Niwas in Kathmandu and expressed a desire to reinvigorate South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as an important regional organisation.
During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual importance including political, economic, defence and cultural fields and expressed satisfaction over the cooperation of the two countries on an international forum.
PM Abbasi also conveyed felicitations to the president on the successful conclusion of the democratic process and the formation of the new government in Nepal. He highlighted that these developments are important milestones in Nepal’s march towards democracy, political stability and economic development. The prime minister also admired the resilience of the Nepalese people who have suffered floods and a terrible earthquake.
PM Abbasi also met his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. During the meeting, particular focus was laid on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and China’s One Belt-One Road (OBOR) project, which was joined by Nepal in 2016.
He said that that CPEC was the visible and significant part of OBOR and had resulted in materialising of several development projects in the country including motorways, Gwadar airport, free economic zones and energy generation projects.
PM Abbasi said that CPEC would ensure connectivity of regional countries with China and all Central Asian states.
He said that Pakistan was ready to share experience and knowledge with Nepal on the matters related to CPEC.
On Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, PM Abbasi said that the project was not confined to the gas supply only but was a flagship venture which included road network, railways lines and laying of fibre optic cables.
The visit also highlighted the importance of continuation of democracy and PM Abbasi emphasised increasing people-to-people contact and parliamentary exchanges between Pakistan and Nepal.
He said that parliament was an ideal and appropriate forum as democracy had been strengthened in Pakistan and was gaining roots in Nepal as well.
He mentioned that the incumbent parliament in Pakistan was the second one in the country’s history which was going to complete its five-year term.
Both the leaders shared similar views on eradication of terrorism and extremism.
PM Abbasi said that Pakistan was not only a partner with countries fighting terrorism but a leader in the war against terrorism.
He mentioned that Pakistan had successfully eliminated terrorism while other countries such as Afghanistan failed to do so.
PM Abbasi called for enhancing trade between the two countries and the need to energise Pakistan-Nepal Business Council. He also invited the Nepalese investors to invest in Pakistan’s diverse sectors.
The two prime ministers discussed ways to reinvigorate SAARC for the benefit of all member states.
PM Abbasi said that Pakistan was ready to hold SAARC summit scheduled in November 2016, which was postponed. He stressed that the potential of SAARC was not being utilised up to the mark and hence there was a need to hold the next summit on priority basis.
He emphasised the need for dialogue and said that the countries in the region could achieve the fruits of progress, development and prosperity through dialogue.
The leaders also discussed the Kashmir issue and the ongoing human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Nepalese PM Oli informed PM Abbasi that Nepal’s elections were held in three tiers including federal, provincial and local under the 2015 Constitution.
He said that Nepal had a fruitful relationship with Pakistan and expressed gratitude for providing assistance to the victims of Nepal’s massive 2015 earthquake.
He lauded Pakistan’s initiative of providing scholarships to 25 Nepalese students and requested to increase the number.
Nepalese PM Oli seconded PM Abbasi’s views on SAARC’s active role for regional integration.
Earlier, PM Abbasi met former Napalese prime minister Pushpa Kamal and discussed matters of mutual interest.
PM LEAVES FOR PAKISTAN AFTER TWO-DAY NEPAL VISIT:
PM Abbasi left Nepal for Pakistan after concluding his two-day visit to the capital of Himalayan country.
Nepalese Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada saw off the Prime Minister at the Tribhuvan International Airport. Senior officials of the Nepal government and Pakistan’s Ambassador Mazhar Javed were also present.