ISLAMABAD, Aug 03 (APP): A day before the meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers, the Interior Secretaries from the member states met here Wednesday to review the progress made so far on agreed areas of cooperation and to finalize recommendations and proposals suggesting way forward for further strengthening of mutual cooperation through sharing of knowledge, experiences and expertise to overcome challenges facing the region. These suggestions would be placed before the Interior Ministers for their consideration and decisions.
As per the SAARC practice, the meeting elected Interior Secretary of Pakistan Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan as the Chairman of the 7th meeting of SAARC Interior Secretaries.
In his remarks the Interior Secretary welcomed the delegations to Pakistan and thanked them for electing him as the chairperson of the meeting.
Addressing the delegates, Secretary Interior Arif Ahmed Khan said that it was a matter of pride that the SAARC countries represent a region that shares common borders and cultural similarities. He said that we are not only tied by geographical proximities but also with historical linkages. Our shared challenges demand collective response and SAARC provides the member states an exceptional platform to share and benefit from the wisdom and experience of each other, he expressed.
The Interior Secretary observed that the mandate of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries meeting covers a range of important issues related to terrorism, corruption, narcotics and psychotropic substances, maritime piracy and other similar issues. He said that the meeting will also be discussing the Conventions on Suppression of Terrorism and the Additional Protocol and Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Stressing upon the need for greater cooperation, he noted that although significant progress has been made in the related areas since the 6th Meeting of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries that was held in September 2014 in Kathmandu, a sizeable amount of work is still to be done by this forum. He expressed the hope that result oriented recommendations of Interior Secretaries would help Interior/Home Ministers of the SAARC countries to take decisions in the greater interest of the region and the people of the member states.
The Secretary Interior also commended the Immigration Authorities from the SAARC member states for their valuable input and said that their recommendations will add an impetus to the ongoing process of forging greater cooperation among the SAARC member states.
Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan also thanked Secretary General of SAARC Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, and his technical team for their efforts and contribution in holding of the 7th meeting of SAARC Interior Ministers.