Next Saarc secretary general from Pakistan proposed

Pokhara, March 17: Pakistan, the incoming chair of Saarc, has proposed the name of Pakistani diplomat Amjad Hussain B. Sial as the next Saarc secretary general, officials said on Thursday.

The name was proposed during the ongoing 37th Saarc Ministerial Meeting in Pokhara, and circulated for endorsement from the member-states and a ratification is expected from the ministerial meeting on Thursday.

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Sial, a career diplomat at the Pakistan Foreign Service, has been an ambassador to various countries. He will replace incumbent Arjun Bahadur Thapa of Nepal who will retire in March 2017.

Sial had served in the Saarc Secretariat in Kathmandu as director from 2003 to 2006.

Pakistan is also hosting the 19th Saarc Summit this year. The date and venue are, however, yet to be announced.

The Saarc secretary general is usually picked according to the English alphabetic order among the member states. Their tenure is three years.

A standing committee meeting at the foreign secretary-level on Wednesday decided to host the Saarc Summit in November after every two years.

Nepal's Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi said that in 32 years of its history, Saarc could host only 18 summits.

India also got the approval of Nepal for a satellite for Saarc during the meeting. This was already approved by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The Saarc satellite will be used for meteorological purposes as well as communication.

India and Pakistan also gave the nod to Nepal's proposal on sharing its experience and expertise on community forestry management.


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