President Asif Ali Zardari said on Saturday that regional cooperation and establishment of transnational linkages was essential for fighting terrorism effectively. It is, therefore, national and collective responsibility to make sincere efforts and implement strategies to rid the South Asian region of terrorism and militancy, the President said during his meeting with Secretary General of SAARC Ms Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, who called on him at Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Briefing newsmen, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that matters relating to terrorism, drug-trafficking and socio-economic cooperation among member states came under discussion.
President Zardari emphasized the need for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to develop a comprehensive and holistic regional strategy which should include sharing of the best practices in agriculture sector, technology transfer and efficient irrigation system to effectively preempt any food crises in future.
The President said that regional cooperation in South Asia was the only realistic way forward for which the SAARC should be made more relevant and visible.
He assured that Pakistan would continue to give high priority to the Association.
President Zardari mentioned that during his visit to Japan in February this year, the Japanese Prime Minister also agreed that peace and prosperity in the South Asian region was vital for realizing peace and prosperity across Asia and the world.
In this regard, Prime Minister Kan expressed his commitment to support the role of SAARC in promoting regional cooperation in South Asia.
President Zardari recalled the address of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at the inaugural session of 4th SAARC Summit held in Islamabad on December 29, 1988 and said that the basis of fruitful cooperation among the SAARC countries proposed by her over two decades ago was still valid.
Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that it may be recalled that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in her address said,”Even the greatest military powers have come to realize that they cannot carry the burden of a spiraling arms race.
It is therefore time that we should seek and consider ways of limiting expenditures on armaments and seek regional political solutions, curbing the arms race and the danger of nuclear proliferation”.
Quoting President Asif Ali Zardari, Farhatullah Babar said that each act of terror reminded of the gravity of the issue of terrorism which transcended national boundaries and considerations of ethnicity,religion and civilizations.
He said that Pakistan was opposed to all forms of terrorism regardless of where from they originated or where they struck the innocent people.
The President said that Pakistan had embarked upon a plan to reform the education sector as part of a long-term strategy to fight the militant mindset. He called for the SAARC countries’ active cooperation and participation in this regard.
Those, who attended the meeting, included Abdullah Jaber, spouse of the Secretary General. From Pakistani side Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabani Khar, Secretary General Salman Farouqui, Spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, Secretary to the President Malik Asif Hayat and other senior officials were oresent in the meeting.