Pak PM Imran Khan Hopes To Host SAARC Summit When “Artificial Obstacle’ Is Removed


New Delhi: In view of the much-delayed SAARC Summit, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed hope that his country would host the summit when the “artificial obstacle” created in its way is removed.

Khan shared his comments during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, who paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister, according to the Foreign Office.

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Imran Khan expressed hope to host the SAARC Summit in Pakistan when artificial obstacle created in its way would be removed, the Foreign Office quoted the Pakistan PM, according to news agency PTI.

The SAARC, a regional grouping comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, has not been very effective since 2016. The biennial summits didn’t take place since the last event held in Kathmandu in 2014 .

In 2016, the SAARC Summit was originally planned to be held in Islamabad on November 15-19, 2016. However, in view of the terror attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India stepped back expressing its inability to participate in the summit due to “prevailing circumstances”.

The summit was canceled after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate in the Islamabad meet. Weerakoon, a Sri Lankan diplomat, assumed charge as the Secretary-General of the SAARC in March last year.

In his meeting with Weerakoon, Khand reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to the mutually beneficial goals and objectives embodied in the SAARC Charter.

He stressed that SAARC can provide a conducive and beneficial atmosphere to build economic synergies which can transform the quality of life of the people of South Asia.
Khan also emphasized strengthening cooperation on issues of common interest including climate change, education, poverty alleviation, energy integration, and health challenges, according to the Foreign Office.

Khan went on to strongly condemn the lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot earlier this month saying there was no justification whatsoever for such acts.

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