Islamabad: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan considers SAARC as an important vehicle for regional cooperation and achieving peace, progress and stability in the region. Pakistan wishes to see SAARC as a vibrant regional organization, he said.

The Prime Minister said this during a meeting with a delegation of Cabinet Secretaries of SAARC countries, at the PM House today.

South Asia with a market of 1.7 billion consumers, immense human capital, unexploited natural resources and a predominantly younger generation can act as an engine of economic growth for the region as well as the world at large, he said.

The Prime Minister said with immense resources at its disposal, SAARC has the potential to transform the quality of life of the people of South Asia. He expressed the confidence that this forum will help SAARC, to become more responsive to the aspirations of its people and an economic driving force for the region.

Nawaz said Pakistan places poverty alleviation on top of SAARC agenda. He believes that the aspirations of the peoples of SAARC countries should be at the center of the Organization's processes. He said Pakistan is strategically located to play a vital role towards intra-regional and inter-regional connectivity, particularly developing rail and road links.

The Prime Minister said government attaches great importance to civil service reform with a focus on performance based management, to transform public sector organizations into efficient engines of service delivery. He said civil service needs to be re-invented according to the requirements and challenges of modern times. PM emphasized on learning from the experiences of each other in this regard.

He said a committee has been formed to realize this vision of PML-N, which will present its report soon. He also asked participants to give their recommendations in this regard. The participants informed the Prime Minister that member states are in the process of implementing the decisions taken during the 18th SAARC summit, held in Kathmandu last year.

They said their governments are committed towards expanding regional cooperation and wish more people to people contact and increased interaction among the business persons of the two countries. They said SAARC countries can learn from the best practices of each other in various fields for the collective welfare of the people SAARC states. They also conveyed greetings of their leadership to the Prime Minister.

Participants of the meeting included Barrister Zafarullah Khan, SAPM; Mr. Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary General SAARC; Syed Abdul Nasis Yousofi, Charge De Affaires Embassy of Afghanistan; Mr. Muhammad Musharraf Hussain Bhuiyan, Cabinet Secretary Bangladesh; Dr. Phuntsho Namgyel Offrg, Cabinet Secretary Bhutan; Mr. Ajit Kumar Seth, Cabinet Secretary India; Mr. Leela Mani Paudyal, Chief Secretary, Nepal; Raja Hassan Abbas, Cabinet Secretary, Pakistan and Mr. W. M. D. J. Fernando, Additional Secretary, Office of the Cabinet Ministers Sri Lanka.