The Prime Minister is in Kathmandu attending the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. Apart from attending the summit, Nawaz Sharif is also expected to meet other South Asian leaders on the sidelines. This is essential as these opportunities to interact and improve regional ties must be encouraged. As it is, this region is going through a lot of problems and unless we all make a consolidated united effort we cannot hope to see progress.

“We want peace and stability in the region. We want to make SAARC a strong trading and economic block like the European Union. This is a region which will prosper through better security and economic cooperation,” said the premier in a pre-departure statement. This is all very well, but until something tangible is done we will not be able to see any collective improvement in the region. There is no scheduled meeting between Nawaz Sharif and the Indian PM, but there is a chance that a ‘meet and greet’ might occur. Whatever the case may be SAARC has had a very unique practice since its inception. The retreat among the heads of the state and government during the summit provides a platform to hold multilateral and bilateral talks. The talks can be held in a very free and frank manner to discuss mutual matters. Let’s hope this summit can provide a platform for the future of the region.

ZAHRAH KHAN,

Lahore, November 26.