The Secretary–General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is the head of the SAARC Secretariat, which is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal. The SAARC is an economic and geopolitical union between the eight South Asian member nations, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Secretary-General is appointed for a three-year term by election by a council of Ministers from member states. The Secretary-General is assisted by eight deputies, one from each nation, who also reside in Kathmandu. The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987 by the Bangladeshi diplomat Abul Ahsan, who was its first Secretary-General, and was inaugurated by King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah of Nepal. Since its creation, its member nations have contributed to a total of thirteen General Secretaries. Pakistan’s Diplomat Amjad Hussain B. Sial is the current Secretary-General, having assumed charge on March 1, 2017.
The SAARC Secretariat is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It coordinates and monitors the implementation of activities, hosts meetings, and serves as a channel of communication between the Association and its member states as well as other regional organisations.
The Secretary-General is assisted by eight Directors on deputation from the member states, and the SAARC Secretariat includes officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The SAARC Secretariat is supported by the following regional centres established in member states to promote regional co-operation. These centres are managed by governing boards composed of representatives from all the member states, the SAARC Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Host Government. The Director of the Centre acts as Member Secretary to the Governing Board which reports to the Programming Committee.
There have been 12 democratically elected holders of the office of Secretary-General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Bangladesh held the first summit in Dhaka, where the Bangladeshi diplomat, Abul Ahsan was elected its first Secretary-General. Since then, 11 more General Secretaries have been selected from each member nation, so far with the exception of Afghanistan. The Nepalese diplomat, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, was incumbent Secretary-General having been appointed to his post on 31 March 2014. His tenure has recently been completed and Amjed Hussain B. Sial has been appointed as general seceratery from 1 March 2017.
|Secretary–Generals||Portrait||Dates in Office||State of Origin||Notes|
|Abul Ahsan||16 January 1985 – 15 October 1989||Bangladesh||Served as Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh , the UNESCO , and the OIC.|
|K.Kishore Bhargava||17 October 1989 – 31 December 1991||India||Emirate to Canada in 1998.|
|Ibrahim Zaki||1 January 1992 – 31 December 1993||Maldives||Continuation of ministerial appointments in the Maldives government until 2003.|
|Yadav K. Silwal||1 January 1994 – 31 December 1995||Nepal||Served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Naeem Hasan||1 January 1996 – 31 December 1998||Pakistan||Served as Pakistan Ambassador to Sweden until 2001.|
|Nihal Rodrigo||1 January 1999 – 10 January 2002||Sri Lanka|
|Q.A. Rahim||11 January 2002 – 28 February 2005||Bangladesh|
|Chenkyab Dorji||1 March 2005 – 29 February 2008||Bhutan||Continuation of appointments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bhutan.|
|Sheel Sharma||1 March 2008 – 28 February 2011||India||Served in the Indian DAE , the AECI and as the Permanent Representative to the IAEA.|
|Fathimath Saeed||1 March 2011 – 11 March 2012||Maldives||Resigned from the post in 2012.|
|Ahmed Saleem||12 March 2012 — 28 February 2014||Maldives|
|Arjun Bahadur Thapa||1 March 2014 — 1 March 2017||Nepal||Former Foreign Secretary of Nepal|
|Amjed Hussain B. Sial||1 March 2017 – Present||Pakistan Former Special Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad|