Vol. 4 Num 218 Mon. January 05, 2004  
Front Page

Thaw in Indo-Pak relations to have positive impacts on Saarc region
Khaleda tells Jamali

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday said the present atmosphere of good understanding between India and Pakistan would not only benefit the two countries but also have positive impacts on other members of Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

During a courtesy call on Pakistan Premier Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali at the Prime Minister's House, Khaleda hoped that Bangladesh would have the opportunity to take over the forum's chair on a happy note after the pragmatic leadership of Pakistan over the next one year. Jamali yesterday was unanimously elected the Saarc chairman.

Saarc officials said the next Saarc summit would be held in Dhaka in 2005.

Khaleda also appreciated the speech of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the inaugural session of the summit here yesterday, saying it carried a positive indication with regard to further positive developments within the bloc.

"Advancement of Saarc in its way of 18 years also proved the maturity and contribution of both leaders and peoples of the Saarc countries," she said.

Briefing newsmen after the meet, Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, who was present at the meeting, said the two prime ministers agreed that Bangladesh and Pakistan have good bilateral relations beyond Saarc, which help them work together for the seven-nation forum.

Khaleda hoped that Pakistan would invest more in Bangladesh, particularly in the textile sector.

The Pakistan premier said that Bangladeshi students could avail the opportunity to study in Pakistan as "there are very good quality schools and colleges in Pakistan".

Prime Minister Khaleda thanked the host prime minister for conducting the Saarc summit.

The Pakistan premier said, "Credit for the regional cooperation that has been forged in last 18 years goes to Bangladesh, as President Ziaur Rahman mooted the concept of the Saarc."

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri and its foreign secretary, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan and PM's Political Secretary Harris Chowdhury were also present.