ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has pledged $3 million to the South Asian Association of Regional Countries (SAARC) COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support efforts in the fight against coronavirus.
“All proceeds of the Fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat and that the modalities for the Fund’s utilization should be finalised through consultations with the Member States as per the SAARC Charter,” said a statement on Thursday.
Pakistan’s perspective in this regard was also conveyed during a telephone conversation between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Secretary General SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon.
Being a founding member, Pakistan considers SAARC an important platform for regional cooperation. Pakistan remains committed to the SAARC process and will continue working with the Member States to strengthen regional cooperation.
On Wednesday, Pakistan refused to participate in a SAARC virtual conference of trade officials, saying such meetings should have been led by the group’s secretariat instead of India.
The meeting of trade officials from eight-member SAARC was convened to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the region and how the forum could come up with a common strategy.
“Being a founding member, Pakistan believed that SAARC provides an important platform for regional cooperation,” the statement issued by the Foreign Office had said.
“Activities such as today’s trade officials’ video conference could only be effective if spearheaded by the SAARC secretariat. Since the secretariat was not part of today’s video conference, Pakistan chose not to participate,” FO Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui had explained.
“At a time when the region is facing unprecedented challenges, all the available institutional frameworks must be optimally utilised,” she added.