Sharif avoids ‘Kashmir’ in SAARC Home Ministers meeting speech

Islamabad (Pakistan), Aug. 4 : Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday reaffirmed that his country remains committed to jointly working with all SAARC member countries in fighting terrorism.

He did not, however, mention Kashmir during his address. Sharif was delivering his opening address at the SAARC Home Ministers meeting in Islamabad, where Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other dignitaries are present.

"Let me reaffirm that Pakistan remains committed to jointly working with the SAARC member states in fighting terrorism, corruption and organised crime among others," Sharif said.

He asserted that Pakistan has always been supportive of the initiative taken by SAARC to advance its ideals and objectives as enshrined in its charter- the social charter and the development goals.

"Pakistan has also been strong advocate of stepping up regional efforts to ensure energy, security through sharing of indigenous sources of energy," he added.

Sharif called on bloc member countries for putting sustained efforts in making SAARC a viable organisation.

"To make SAARC more effective and viable regional organization, responsive to the aspirations of people, whole of us- the national governments, the SAARC secretariats and its regional centres and specialised bodies need to make sustained and concerted efforts," he said.

He added, "We believe that SAARC must position itself to engage interested states and international organisations to win-win complementarities for social, economic progress in the region." Sharif also highlighted the about its country's military operation 'Zarb-E-Azab' in fighting terrorism.

"At national level the remarkable gains made against the terrorists through operation Zarb-E-Azab and the effective implementation of national action plan reflect our government's determination to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from our soil for good," he said.

Expressing his confidence about the decisions and recommendations likely to be taken during the meeting, Sharif said they will provide the much needed impetus to our ongoing efforts to make cooperation among SAARC member countries on terrorism, corruption and human trafficking more meaningful.

"The outcome of the meeting will complement the agenda of the 19th SAARC Summit which we are looking forward to hosting in Islamabad in November this year," he concluded.

Source: ANI