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Pakistan is ready to work with SAARC member countries: PM Nawaz

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ISLAMABAD:(APS) August 26, 2016-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says Pakistan is committed to jointly working with SAARC member states in changing economic landscape of the region and getting its people out of clutches of poverty, illiteracy and other social ills.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the 8th meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers in Islamabad on Friday.

The Prime Minister said three decades back South Asian leadership had made commitment to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development of our region.

He said Pakistan is ready to contribute to fulfill aspirations of the people of the region.

Nawaz Sharif said increasing connectivity, ease of communication, freer trade and finding solution to hunger, poverty and food insecurity has helped the world enhance regional and sub-regional cooperation.

He expressed the confidence that deliberations of Finance Ministers would complement the agenda of 19th SAARC summit, which Pakistan looks forward to host in Islamabad on 9th and 10th of November this year.

He also apprised the participants about economic policies being pursued by the Pakistan Government, their acknowledgement by the multilateral institutions and their trickle-down effect.

He said reforms agenda of the Government is aimed at strengthening regulatory and supervisory framework and safeguarding of the national economy.

In his welcome address, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the South Asian region is blessed with immense resources and has the potential to meet the growth requirements of its peoples.

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He said joint strategies is the way forward to exploit this potential for the socio economic uplift of our peoples.

He expressed the confidence that the vision of South Asian Economic Union will promote economic cooperation, investment and connectivity amongst the regional countries.

He said the leaders of SAARC countries have repeatedly been emphasizing upon the greater economic integration and cooperation.

He said though significant headways have been made in this regard, however, there is need to remove non-tariff barriers and simplification of procedures in order to enhance cooperation in different sectors including trade, investment and energy cooperation.

Ishaq Dar said the proposals to be finalized in today’s meeting will be presented before the SAARC summit to be held in November in Islamabad.

Later, being elected as the chairman of the 8th meeting of SAARC finance ministers, Ishaq Dar in his brief remarks said that concerted and time-bound efforts are the only way to get the masses of the South Asian region out of the clutches of poverty and hunger.

He emphasized the need for greater intra-regional and inter regional cooperation to steer the South Asia out of all challenges including that of poverty.

Addressing the conference, Secretary General SAARC Arjun Bahadur Thapa said that the South Asian region has the potential to become the global economic force.

He said that since the last SAARC Summit, significant progress has been made to bolster economic cooperation amongst the member states.

He said the leaders of SAARC countries have set an ambitious target of establishing South Asian Economic Union which requires deeper interaction amongst the member countries.

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