Saturday's terrible tremor in Pakistan and India once again gives rise to the oft-repeated question as to whether the 13th SAARC summit could take place as per schedule, though host Bangladesh is confident about getting it through, reports UNB.
"SAARC summit is on," Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan said responding to a question if there is any possibility of further deferment of the twice-postponed meet of South Asian leaders in the wake of a sub-continental earthquake.
The Foreign Minister hoped that the natural calamity-which mainly left some parts of Pakistan and India in ruins--would not affect the holding of the 13th summit.
"The Dhaka summit is still one month away. I don't think it will affect the 13th summit," he said about the aftermath of the long-range quake.
It may be mentioned the summit had to be postponed first as Tsunami hit some SAARC countries just a few days ahead of the meet in January. It was again put off for a second time in February when India unilaterally pulled out on the plea of royal coup in Nepal and "security concern" in Dhaka.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Khan, Foreign Affairs advisor Reaz Rahman and senior Foreign Ministry officials Sunday visited Jamuna state guesthouse and Bangladesh-China International Friendship Centre, the two major venues of the summit.
"Full mobilisation for the summit is on," a senior official of the Foreign Ministry said. The official said all pre-summit meetings are on schedule and they had not received any new information about the pre-summit meetings in Islamabad.
SAARC Committee of Experts is scheduled to meet in Islamabad on October 18-19 for the final round of negotiation on SAFTA.
The Committee on Economic Cooperation headed by SAARC Commerce Secretaries will meet on October 20-21 and SAARC Commerce Ministers on October 22 in the Pakistan capital.
Besides SAFTA, the meetings would focus on increasing intra-regional trade and investment in South Asia.