During Nepal visit, Pak PM to discuss ways of invigorating Saarc

The 19th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), which was to be held in Kathmandu in 2016, was scrapped after an attack on an Indian Army base in Uri that was blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists.

world Updated: Mar 04, 2018 22:53 IST
Abbasi is the first head of the state or government to visit Nepal after formation of the new government under K P Oli.(REUTERS FILE)

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will discuss ways of invigorating the stalled Saarc process during his two-day visit to Nepal starting Monday.

The 19th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), which was to be held in Kathmandu in 2016, was scrapped after an attack on an Indian Army base in Uri that was blamed on Pakistan-based terrorists. India and several other Saarc members unilaterally pulled out of the meeting.

Though the summit has not been held since then, meetings of various Saarc mechanisms have been held with the participation of Indian and Pakistani representatives. Nepal is the current chair of the grouping and it is Pakistan’s turn to host the summit.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Pakistani foreign ministry said Abbasi’s visit is part of the country’s “pro-active and outreach efforts to engage with regional countries.”

“Ways of invigorating Saarc as an important regional organisation will also be discussed,” it said.

Abbasi is the first head of the state or government to visit Nepal after formation of the new government under K P Oli.

Abbasi will convey felicitations to the Nepalese leadership on the successful conclusion of its democratic process, resulting in the formation of a new government, and call on the President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the Pakistani foreign ministry statement said.

Nepal’s foreign ministry said Oli will hold bilateral meeting with Abbasi and exchange views on matters of mutual interest.

The Pakistani statement said the visit will provide an opportunity to further expand and strengthen bilateral relations across all areas of mutual interest including trade, education, tourism, defence and people to people contacts.

The last visit to Nepal by a Pakistani prime minister was in November 2014, when Nawaz Sharif attended the 18th Saarc summit in Kathmandu.

First Published: Mar 04, 2018 21:00 IST