Government attaches top priority to welfare of masses which is difficult without deeper integration of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries: Minister

Islamabad, July 19, 2013 (PPI-OT): State Minister for Privatization Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan on Saturday said government has attached top priority to the welfare of the masses which is difficult without regional cooperation and deeper integration of Saarc countries.

He said that the rise in trust level between Pakistan and India will boost regional cooperation in South Asia and help addressing allied issues effectively.

Khurram Dastagir Khan said this while speaking at a seminar titled, “Creating Synergies for Regional Cooperation in South Asia,” organised by Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The minister further added that Pakistan and India are lacking proper linkages, infrastructure, banking channels, telecommunications and other facilities which are impeding bilateral trade which was currently lowest in the world.

VP Saarc Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik, Gen. (Retd) Abdul Quyum, Secretary Commerce Qasim Niaz, VP FPCCI Sheikh Muhammad Ali, Sec. Gen. Saarc Chamber Iqbal Tabish also addressed at the inaugural session.

Speaking on the occasion, VP Saarc Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik said that the new government has given new hope for improving Pakistan’s ties with India in particular and south Asian countries in general which would help promote economic relationship and boost the morale of the private sector of Pakistan. Private sector has a role in creating synergies for which creativity is an integral component, said Malik.

Addressing the technical session, DG South Asia Foreign Ministry Riffat Masood, DG SASSI Maira Sultan, DG Saarc Arbitration Council Syed Sultan Ahmed, DG Saarc HRD Riffat Ayesha Anis, Director Saarc energy Centre Hilal A Raza, President ICCI Zafar bakhtawri, and Advisor Unilever Pakistan Basharat Ahmed were of the opinion that the Saarc region as a whole could grow provided all regional conflicts are addressed in acceptable manner.

The speakers argued that despite having enormous potential, Saarc was home to twenty two per cent of the global population where around 50 per cent are living in poverty due to questionable priorities of the policymakers.

Safta has been operational since five years but the regional trade was dismal due to political sensitivities and misleading conceptions, they said.

They emphasised for creating synergies through promoting cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, energy, tourism, and effective supply chain mechanism.

They said that lack of transportation facilities and cumbersome procedures and restrictions by neighbouring states hikes cost of doing business and cost of commodities up to 30 per cent which if brought down will benefit tens of millions of people. Chairman Media FPCCI Malik Sohail facilitated the seminar.

For more information, contact:
Syed Masood Alam Rizvi
Secretary General
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI)
B-1, Federation House, Main Clifton Road,
Karachi-75600, Pakistan
Tel: 0092-21-35873691, 93-94
Fax: +9221 3587 4332