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Pakistan Believes in Regional Cooperation: Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan

Prime minister reiterates Islamabad’s commitment to SAARC and urges adherence to sovereign equality, mutual respect

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that Pakistan firmly believes in the strength and potential of regional cooperation as a driver of individual, national and regional development.

Reiterating the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government’s commitment to the charter of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in a message to mark the 35th SAARC Chapter Day, the prime minister said Islamabad fully believed in SAARC and hoped the pause in its operations would soon be removed. “Pakistan further believes that effective and result-oriented regional cooperation can be achieved only by adhering to the cardinal principles of sovereign equality and mutual respect as enshrined in the SAARC Charter,” he said. By resuming SAARC meetings, the eight nations comprising its membership can forge ahead on the path of regional cooperation for development, he said.

In his message, released by the Prime Minister’s Office, P.M. Khan felicitated the peoples of all SAARC member states and wished for peace, progress and prosperity for all of South Asia.

Khan said Dec. 8, the 35th anniversary of SAARC Charter Day, marked the day when leaders from rival and allies nations came together with vision and foresight and pledged to work together for regional progress and prosperity. “This day reminds us of the enormous responsibility placed on our shoulders by our peoples, and their expectations from their leaders to address the common challenges of poverty, illiteracy, disease and under-development,” he added.

During the first summit in Dhaka, on Dec. 8, 1985, the heads of state for Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives adopted the Charter of SAARC, which marked the beginning of a new era of regional cooperation in the history of South Asia. Afghanistan formally applied for membership to the bloc in 2005, becoming the eighth nation to be part of the regional body.

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