Appointment of new Saarc Sec Gen hit by ‘India-Pakistan tensions’

Islamabad hopes to host postponed Saarc summit soon

DHAKA : Pakistan has expressed the hope that the 19th Saarc Summit, originally scheduled to be held on November 9 and 10 last year in Islamabad, will be held soon, reports UNB.
The Summit was postponed as a number of Saarc member states out of its eight members – Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Afghanistan – conveyed their inability to attend the summit amid tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz talked to the outgoing secretary general of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Arjun Bahadur Thapa in Islamabad on the issue on Friday.
Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella can be pursued more vigorously’ Aziz was quoted by Indian and Pakistan media as saying.
Thapa laid emphasis on the need to overcome the difficulties that the Saarc faced and expressed the hope that the 19th Saarc Summit would be held in Islamabad as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the appointment of the new Saarc secretary general has run into problems because of India-Pakistan tensions, with Islamabad’s candidate yet to be approved by the grouping, Hindustan Times reported from Kathmandu.
Pakistan had proposed Amjad Hussain Sial for the post of secretary general during a meeting of the Council of Ministers at Pokhara in March last year. It was Pakistan’s turn to get the post, which is held by rotation.
After Sial’s name was proposed, it was expected that he would be approved by member states at the Saarc Summit that was to be held in Islamabad last year. However, the summit fell through because of the India-Pakistan tensions.
The incumbent secretary general, Nepal’s Arjun Bahadur Thapa, will complete his tenure at the end of February.
The Saarc Secretariat recently circulated a note to the grouping’s eight members, seeking their approval for Sial’s appointment, the report claimed.