Thursday Apr 09 2020
Web Desk

Pakistan pledges $3m for SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund

Web Desk
Flags of SAARC nations. — Reuters/Files

The Government of Pakistan has pledged $3 million towards the SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund to support regional efforts in the fight against the pandemic, the Foreign Office said Thursday.

In a statement, FO said: "While communicating Pakistan’s decision to the SAARC Secretariat, it has been conveyed that all proceeds of the fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat and that the modalities for the fund’s utilisation should be finalised through consultations with the member states as per the SAARC Charter."

"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.

Meanwhile, it also remains committed to the SAARC process and will continue working with the Member States to strengthen regional cooperation, the FO added.

On Wednesday, Pakistan had refused to participate in a SAARC virtual conference of trade officials, stating that 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.

Read more: Pakistan calls for placing SAARC's COVID-19 emergency fund under SG

“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,” the FO's statement read.

“At a time when the region is facing unprecedented challenges, all the available institutional frameworks must be optimally utilised,” it added.