SAARC’s Former Premiers’ Forum

CH Shujaat Hussain, the ex-Prime Minister, hosted a breakfast in honour of the two former Prime Ministers of Nepal and representatives of India and Bangladesh in Islamabad on Monday where it was decided to establish a forum of former Prime Ministers of SAARC countries for promotion of democracy and good governance in the region.
Indeed Ch Shujaat Hussain is man of ideas who frequently comes up with brilliant and innovative ideas on some pressing issues and his proposal to establish a forum of SAARC’s former Prime Ministers is a timely step in the right direction which will help promote regional harmony, build trust and bring peoples closer together. Unfortunately democracy and good governance could not take roots in the region due to deeply entrenched authoritarianism in our respective societies, which has never allowed the uninterrupted growth of a vibrant democratic culture. Strong democratic culture is the requirement of the whole region, therefore, we believe this forum to be manned by leaders like Ch Shujaat Hussain, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh and others, could take genuine steps towards ensuring progress of democracy in all its aspects and facets. This will ultimately help ensure good governance and address the miseries of the common man afflicted with multiple problems particularly absolute poverty and unemployment. Over the last many decades, our region has seen enough bloodshed, wars and conflicts and still long standing disputes are hindering the process of normalization of relations between different countries. In this context, the forum of former Premiers, on the pattern of track two diplomacy, could also serve as an informal platform to help resolve those lingering disputes that have put the peace and stability of the region at stake. We are sure of the utility of the forum because all these former Prime Ministers have well played their innings during their terms in offices and they have the rich experience, insight and capability to contribute in creating a mutually congenial environment. If they work together with collective wisdom, they could prove to be a great asset and history will remember them in golden words. We hope Ch Shujaat will soon put his proposal in practice by making the forum fully functional, which undoubtedly has the potential to deliver in the regional interests.

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