New Saarc Secretary from Pakistan assumes office

Kathmandu, March 1 (IANS) Amjad Hussain B. Sial of Pakistan assumed office as the new Secretary General of Saarc on Wednesday — the day Arjun Bahadur Thapa of Nepal completed his tenure in the office.

“Sial is a seasoned diplomat from Pakistan Foreign Service with a career spanning over 33 years. He has Master’s Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from National Defence University, Islamabad,” a statement said.

Sial has rich experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy both at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad and missions abroad. He was Director (Pakistan) from 2003-2006 at Saarc Secretariat, Kathmandu.

Sial served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the Republic of Tajikistan from 2011-2014 and Ambassador/Alternate Permanent Representative at Pakistan Mission to the United Nations, New York.

Before joining Saarc Secretariat, he was Special Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad.

Saarc — South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation — is the regional organisation of eight member countries. It could not make a desired progress due to long-standing feud between India and Pakistan, two giant South Asian countries.

Challenges before Sial include convening the 19th Saarc Summit in Pakistan, which was stalled after a militant attack at an Indian Army base in Uri, and brining India and Pakistan closer in key Saarc accords and projects among others.