Pakistan has pledged US $3 million towards SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund to support regional efforts in the fight against the global pandemic.
This will make Pakistan, the third-largest contributor to the initiative proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has pledged the largest amount with Sri Lanka at the second.
In a press release issued by the Foreign Office on Thursday, the spokesperson said that Pakistan remains committed to the SAARC process and will continue working with the Member States to strengthen regional cooperation.
He stated that it has been conveyed that all proceeds of the Fund should be administered by the SAARC Secretariat and that the modalities for the Fund’s utilization should be finalized through consultations with the member states as per the SAARC Charter.
The statement further added that Pakistan’s perspective in this regard was also conveyed during a telephone conversation between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Secretary-General SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon.
A day before this announcement, Pakistan had boycotted the virtual conference of trade officials from Saarc countries, saying such meetings could only be effective if spearheaded by the group’s secretariat instead of India.
On March 15, 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while chairing a video conference of the leaders of the SAARC members states through a video conference, had proposed the creation of a ‘COVID-19 Emergency Fund’ with voluntary contributions from all member states.
It further stated that the fund can be used by any of the partner countries to meet the cost of immediate actions.
According to the SAARC website, the SAARC members have contributed a total amount of US$18.631 million. After pledging US$ 3 million, Pakistan will become the third-largest contributor to the emergency fund.
- India pledged an amount of US$ 10 million as an initial contribution
- Afghanistan contributing US$1 million
- Bangladesh US$ 1.5 million
- Maldives US$ 0.2 million
- Bhutan US$ 0.1 million
- Nepal US$ 0.831 million
- Sri Lanka US $5 million.