New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) SAARC countries Wednesday adopted a charter for mutual cooperation and set up a forum that will enhance capabilities to conduct free and fair elections.
In its charter, the chief election commissioners of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India "confirmed their abiding faith in the objectives and principles of SAARC contained in the SAARC charter".
They "recognised that the election management bodies of SAARC countries can benefit from one another's experience and mutual cooperation".
They also said in the charter that such cooperation should be strengthened through a permanent common forum of the heads of election management bodies of SAARC countries.
The decision to set up a forum was taken during the third Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries here.
The forum's objective will be to promote contact among these poll management bodies, share experiences with a view to learning from each other and to cooperate with one another in enhancing the capabilities of the poll bodies towards conducting free and fair elections.
It was also decided that the council will be the supreme authority of the forum and will have the heads of the election management bodies of SAARC countries.
Also, the council will meet at least once a year in one of the member countries and the head of the election management body of the host country will be the chair of the council.
The charter was signed by Fazel Ahmed Manawi, chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Aghanistan; Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, chief election commissioner of Bangladesh; Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, the chief election commissioner of Bhutan; Ibrahim Waheed, the commissioner of election commission of the Maldives; Neel Kantha Uprety, the chief election commissioner of Nepal; Justice retired Muhammad R. Essani, member election commission Pakistan; Mahinda Deshapriya, the commissioner of elections in Sri Lanka; and S.Y. Quraishi, India's poll panel head.
Read More: Nepal | Maldives | Bangladesh | Bhutan | Election Commission | Kheri Bhutan | Neel | Basai Kazi | Kantha | Lanka Ndtso | Kazi Khera | Kazi Sarain | Pipra Kazi | Baseri Kazi | Takali Kazi | Bhutan Hiparga | Botha Kazi | Lanka | Kazi Pakri | SAARC