Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has congratulated Sri Lanka on hosting the Commonwealth leaders' summit.
In his special message on the occasion of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Sharif expressed his confidence in the "astute leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa," saying that Commonwealth will become a stronger and more cohesive organization under his leadership.
According to a statement released by the Pakistani High Commission ahead of his arrival in Sri Lanka on Thursday, Nawaz Sharif arrived in Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Summit.
A delegation from Bangladesh is also expected ahead of the start of the summit on Friday. Sharif reaffirmed that Pakistan being a democracy and a responsible member of the global community subscribes to the work of the Commonwealth for promoting peace through international cooperation, poverty alleviation through sustainable economic and social development.
Theme of this year's summit 'Growth with Equity Inclusive Development' is therefore highly relevant, he added. Pakistan is one of the eight founding members of the Commonwealth, which signed the London Declaration of April 1949.
Sharif's Indian counterpart has boycotted the event along with the Canadian and Mauritius Prime Ministers.
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid together with Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh arrived in Colombo on Wednesday on a five-day visit that will also see them attending CHOGM.
India, Sri Lanka's closest neighbor and largest trading partner, has been pushing Colombo to improve reconciliation with the Tamil minority.
Sri Lankan government brushed aside the boycott and insisted that it would not diminish the importance of the event. India's southern state of Tamil Nadu assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution demanding that no diplomats from the Indian central government attend CHOGM.
Pakistan proposes establishment of a Commonwealth Reserve Fund: Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani representing Pakistan at the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting being held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, ahead of the Commonwealth Summit, proposed the establishment of a Commonwealth Reserve Fund to assist member states facing socio-economic vulnerabilities, lack of access to financing for development, high and escalating debt burden and natural disasters.
The proposed fund, for which a detailed Concept Paper would be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretariat, could serve to enhancing cooperation for developing, inter alia, a mechanism for early forecasting of financial crisis and guide the countries to take precautionary and timely measures.
Dwelling on the theme of the Commonwealth Summit, "Growth with Equity; Inclusive Development", Mr. Jilani informed the meeting about the formulation of Vision 2025 - Pakistan's long term development programme, which aims to create a globally competitive and prosperous country providing a high quality of life for all its citizens.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is leading Pakistan's delegation to the Commonwealth Summit. During his stay in Colombo, the Prime Minister will meet with the President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Ministers of Australia, Malta and New Zealand. (The Frontier Post)
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