Pak, Bangladesh agree on making SAARC dynamic, vibrant body
14 February, 2006
ISLAMABAD, February 14 (Online): Pakistan and Bangladesh have agreed on further solidifying bilateral cooperative ties in the areas of economy, trade, investment, defence, IT, macro finance besides reaffirming commitment to make SAARC more effective and vibrant body.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Begum Khalida Zia held formal talks here in Prime Minister house Monday. Talks lasted one hour.
Later both the countries in the presence of respective delegations held negotiations aimed at promoting cooperation in various spheres of activities.
Both the Prime Ministers addressed joint press conference after the meeting.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said that Bangladeshi ruler visit to Pakistan after 12 years is of historical importance. Pakistan and Bangladesh are tied into cultural, religious and historical bonds and both the countries are endeavoring to upgrade the standard of life of their people.
Prime Minister told that both the sides signed many agreements during this visit on promotion of cooperation. "We stand for establishment of peace in South Asia besides projecting the real image of Islam across the world, he underlined.
He went on to say that both of the countries are important members of OIC and are eager to strengthen this platform.
He informed that both the countries had agreed on a free trade agreement, which would be implemented by September 30. This will help promote investment between the two sides, he hoped. Pakistan will benefit from the experiences of Bangladesh in micro finance and social sector. Pakistan can provide assistance in the areas of economy and IT, he told.
He maintained that both the sides had convergence of views on all important regional and global issues including UN reforms. Pakistan is increasing number of scholarships to one hundred per year for the students of Bangladesh. This step will help enhance interaction between the two countries.
Shaukat Aziz hoped that Begum Khalida Zia as chairperson of SAARC will not only utilize all her energies but also the belt will develop.
Pakistan is ready to pay its share of expenditure to upgrade the permanent secretariat of SAARC, he informed. We need to make SAARC more result-oriented body beyond its meetings, he stressed.
He told that meeting of finance ministers of SAARC member countries will be held in March in Islamabad. Pakistan wants peace in South Asia and this platform can play vital role in this respect.
Expressing gratitude to the government and people of Bangladesh for the generous assistance extended by them in the aftermath of October 8 disastrous quake he hoped that both the countries would continue to help each other in future.
Begum Khalida Zia, Prime Minister Bangladesh said that her talks with her Pakistani counterpart Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz remained purposeful and all the important regional and international issues and matters of common interest figured in the talks.
"We have agreed on expanding bilateral trade and relations. Both the countries are tied into old relations. The foreign ministers level annual interactions will add new dimensions to these ties", she remarked.
We are striving to make SAARC more dynamic and vibrant body so that it could prove worthwhile for the people of the region, she added. SAARC is being reactivated, she added. Allowing membership of SAARC to Afghanistan and participation of China and Japan as observers are the part of these efforts, she underlined.
The spirit of warmth demonstrated during my reception is reflective of strong relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh, she held.
"I have extended invitation to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to visit Bangladesh", she told.
Pakistan and Bangladesh also signed four Memorandum of Understandings including Agricultural Research Council, Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Livestock, Tourism, Export Promotion Bureau and Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and Bangladesh Standards Testing Institution (BSTI) in the Field of Standardization and Quality Assurance aimed to improve economic and trade relations between the two brotherly Muslim countries.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his Bangladeshi counterpart witnessed the MoU signing ceremony.