ISLAMABAD (Khyber Mail): During an interactive session organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS), SAARC Secretary General Ambassador Md. Golam Sarwar emphasized the need for a fresh and committed approach to address longstanding challenges hindering SAARC’s progress. He highlighted that the organization’s success hinges on member states setting aside political differences and prioritizing regional cooperation.

The Secretary General also noted that SAARC has expanded its cooperation spectrum across various development areas over time. Key focus areas include food security, sustainable agriculture, and other significant collaborative efforts.

Despite the challenges faced, the SAARC Secretary General reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to core objectives, including enhancing intra-regional trade, promoting people-to-people interactions, combating poverty, addressing climate change, improving public health, and advancing women and youth development.

President of the IRS, Ambassador Jauhar Saleem, praised the Secretary General’s resolve to tackle challenges and promote regional cooperation. He emphasized Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to SAARC’s vision and objectives.

Senior journalist Shaukat Paracha highlighted the media’s role in advancing the SAARC agenda. He proposed reviving the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) to enhance media collaboration among member states, fostering closer ties and increasing awareness of SAARC initiatives.

Former Director at the SAARC Secretariat, Ambassador Ghulam Dastagir, urged moving beyond formal proclamations. He identified areas like agriculture, medical cooperation, tourism, media collaboration, and women and youth development as crucial for progress within SAARC.

Dr. Shabana Fayyaz, Associate Professor at QAU, welcomed the SAARC Secretary General’s visit to Pakistan, emphasizing that people-to-people contact is essential for regional integration. She called for a more relaxed visa regime to facilitate visiting individuals across SAARC member states. : Source: Original news article

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