Islamabad, Apr 10, 2020: The Pakistan government on Thursday pledged $3 million to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (SAARC) Covid-19 Emergency Fund on the condition that the facility be administered by the Saarc secretariat.
Pakistan is the last of Saarc’s eight members to contribute to the fund, which was created with an initial corpus of $10 million provided by India following a video conference of leaders of the grouping on March 15, Hindustan Times reported.
“While communicating Pakistan’s decision to the Saarc Secretariat, it has been conveyed that all proceeds of the Fund should be administered by the Saarc Secretariat and that the modalities for the Fund’s utilisation should be finalised through consultations with the Member States as per the Saarc Charter,” said a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
“Pakistan’s perspective in this regard was also conveyed during a telephone conversation between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Secretary General SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, today,” the statement added.
According to New Delhi, India’s engagements with Saarc members on Covid-19 related matters are stand-alone events whereas Pakistan has sought to bring all issues under the Saarc secretariat in a bid to block Indian initiatives.
On Wednesday, Pakistan skipped a video conference of senior trade officials of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), saying it chose not to participate since the Saarc secretariat wasn’t involved in organising it.