Responding to media queries regarding Pakistan’s non-participation in the Trade Officials Video-Conference on Covid-19 arranged by India today, the Spokesperson stated:

– Being a founding member, Pakistan believed that SAARC provides an important platform for regional cooperation.
– The role of the Secretariat assumes further salience in emergency situations such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and its wider social and economic fall-out.
– As in the case of other regional and international organizations, SAARC Secretariat also provides the requisite convening platform, institutional framework and support structure for essential coordination and follow-up.
– Activities such as today’s Trade Officials’ Video-Conference could only be effective if spearheaded by the SAARC Secretariat. Since the SAARC Secretariat was not part of today’s Video-Conference, Pakistan chose not to participate.
– In order for the SAARC process to move forward, the SAARC Secretariat must be enabled to play its due role in any event or activity being organized under SAARC auspices.
– At a time when the region is facing unprecedented challenges, all the available institutional frameworks must be optimally utilized.

Islamabad
8 April 2020

157/2020
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