New Delhi: Pakistan on Thursday pledged $3 million to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) grouping’s covid-19 Emergency Fund on the condition that the fund be managed by the SAARC secretariat.

Pakistan is the last member of the SAARC to contribute to the fund, which was created with an initial corpus of $10 million provided by India following a video conference of leaders of the grouping on 15 March.

“While communicating Pakistan’s decision to the Saarc Secretariat, it has been conveyed that all proceeds of the Fund should be administered by the Saarc Secretariat and that the modalities for the Fund’s utilisation should be finalised through consultations with the Member States as per the Saarc Charter,” said a statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office, made available by the Pakistan High Commision in New Delhi.

“Pakistan’s perspective in this regard was also conveyed during a telephone conversation between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and Secretary General SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon,” the statement added.

According to New Delhi, India’s engagements with SAARC members on Covid-19 related matters are stand-alone events but Pakistan had sought to bring all issues under the SAARC secretariat to block Indian initiatives.

On Wednesday, Pakistan did not participate in a video conference of senior SAARC commerce officials saying it chose to stay out since the SAARC secretariat was not involved.

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