Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan attaches great importance to regional integration to enhance trade and promote economic prosperity of the people of South Asia.Cooperation between Pakistan and India can move forward the SAARC process in a meaningful and substantive manner and the recent visit of Foreign Minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar to India augurs well for the SAARC process, he added.The Prime Minister was talking to Special Envoy of the President of Maldives Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, who called on him here at the PM House on Thursday.
The Special Envoy handed over a letter from President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives inviting the Prime Minister and Begum Gilani to participate in the SAARC Summit in Maldives on November 10-11 this year.
Prime Minister Gilani while accepting the invitation from the President of Maldives, expressed his confidence that the SAARC Summit would help build stronger bridges among the SAARC member countries.
The 17th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Maldives in November this year would be another important milestone in South Asian march towards regional cooperation in various fields including food security, energy cooperation and the campaign against terrorism, he added.
The Special Envoy informed the Prime Minister that it would be for the first time that the SAARC Summit will be held in south of the Equator in Addu City in Maldives.
The government of Maldives was, therefore, working to achieve positive objectives during the Summit particularly in ensuring connectivity in South Asia as well as trade and economic cooperation in the region, he added.
The Special Envoy appreciated the Government of Pakistan’s assistance to Maldives in the preparations for a successful SAARC Summit.
On bilateral relations with Maldives, the Prime Minister emphasized upon the need for high level visits to promote and strengthen understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
Pakistan, he said, would welcome visits by the Speaker of the Maldivian Assembly and Defence Minister of Maldives in response to outstanding invitations from the Chairman Senate and the Defence Minister of Pakistan, respectively.
The Special Envoy invited Pakistan’s private sector to explore opportunities to invest in Maldives. He also extended an invitation for a high level trade delegation from Pakistan to visit Maldives.
The High Commissioner of Maldives in Pakistan Dr. Aishath Shehnenaz Adam, Acting Foreign Secretary Alamgir Babar and other senior officers of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat were also present during the meeting.