Pak ‘backtracks’ from SAARC road project


Pakistan has backtracked from an ambitious project for South Asian road connectivity ahead of meetings to set the agenda for the 19th SAARC summit in Islamabad this year.
The Hindustan times reported on Monday that ministers and officials of the eight-member SAARC would hold a series of meetings in Kathmandu from the day to plan for the summit to be hosted by Pakistan.
But a vital motor vehicles pact will not be part of the agenda.
The pact would have allowed free movement of passenger and cargo vehicles within the SAARC nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
But a blueprint for regional integration has been on hold because India and Pakistan had backed off from the connectivity plans at crucial junctures.
Quoting sources, the report said Pakistan communicated to India in February that it needed more time to decide on the project and wanted SAARC transport ministers’ meeting deferred.
Pakistan refused to sign the pact at the Kathmandu summit in November. Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan signed an agreement in June 2015 to pave the way for unhindered passage of passenger and cargo vehicles of the countries through each other’s territory.

source : the new age

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