LAHORE: South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Secretary General Esala Ruwan Weerakoon Sunday stressed the need for strengthening regional cooperation among member states for prosperity, progress, development and alleviating poverty in the region.
Speaking at a reception hosted in his honour, he called upon the Saarc council of ministers to meet soon to address procedural issues due to which Saarc and its apex allied bodies are greatly suffering and also take necessary measures to accelerate economic and commercial growth among member states. He said he will discuss the matter with the current chair Nepal to resolve the issue on priority.
He emphasised the need for greater cooperation to foster greater regional economic integration in South Asia and all impediments hindering smooth flow of economic growth be done away with forthwith with mutual consensus among member states.
Welcoming Saarc secretary general on his four day maiden visit to Pakistan since assuming office in March 2020, veteran trade leader founder chairman Pak US Business Council and former president Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik on behalf of Pakistani business community stressed the need for resolving the matter of recognition of apex and allied bodies to achieve the very objectives of Saarc which was conceived in 1985.
He reiterated that Saarc must evolve a viable strategy to help remove the bottlenecks impeding intra-regional-trade and economic ties within the region. He called upon the member states to unlock the potential of regional economic cooperation and integration in South Asia and revisit their policy priorities to promote economic connectivity.
Iftikhar Ali Malik thanked Esala Ruwan Weerakoon for sparing time to visit Pakistan in a very low tide of regional cooperation in Saarc and hoped Ruwan will take stock of host of issues confronting the Pakistani business community due to challenges emerging in the region.