Time ripe for SAARC to transform region: Gilani

SAARC can contribute immensely towards building a trust surplus among member states, said Pak PM.

Updated: Nov 10, 2011, 21:11 PM IST

Addu: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said time has come for SAARC countries to transform the region by addressing common problems like terrorism, climate change, population stabilisation and poverty.

"South Asia has the potential to become an important engine for global economic growth. It has all the necessary ingredients in terms of human and natural resources to work the economic miracle of this century," Gilani said while addressing the 17th SAARC summit.

He said the time has come for the eight-member grouping "to lead the way in a historic transformation of our region utilising its vast capabilities and build on the sure foundations of great civilisational heritage of the peoples of
this region”.

"Terrorism, in all its form and manifestation, presents an enormous challenge to our region and the world," he said, adding that his country supports efforts under SAARC at enhancing cooperation to eliminate this menace.

SAARC can contribute immensely towards building a trust surplus among member states. Interfaith and inter-cultural harmony must find special emphasis in SAARC`s programmes, he said.

"We should build on our inherent strengths and effectively address common issues such as socio-economic disparities, poverty alleviation, food security, energy security, women empowerment, health and education. This requires close coordination at national and regional planes," Gilani said.