Welcome remarks by H.E. Syed Tariq Fatemi Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, 36th Session of the D-8 Commission Islamabad, 4th June 2015

Islamabad, June 04, 2015 (PPI-OT):

Honourable Secretary General Syed Mousavi

Distinguished Commissioners and Heads of Delegation

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalam -o- Alaikum and Good Morning

I thank you all for making it convenient to attend this 36th Session of the D-8 Commission.

Let me begin by expressing our deep grief and sorrow over the helicopter crash in the Northern Areas of Pakistan on 8 May 2015 in which Ambassadors of Indonesia, Norway and Philippines and spouses of the Ambassador of Indonesia and the High Commissioner of Malaysia lost their lives. We are saddened at the loss of so many of our friends. We pray for the departed souls and share the sorrow and suffering of the bereaved families.

Distinguished Delegates,

Pakistan is holding this Session during the extended term of its D-8 Chairmanship. We feel honoured to be entrusted with this interim arrangement. While serving the Organization with commitment, we will support Member States’ efforts to reach an early decision on the venue and date of the next D-8 Summit, where a new Chair will assume the responsibility, with new ideas and initiatives.

We consider D-8 an important platform to discuss ways to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation. Since its establishment, Member States have covered much ground on identifying areas that offer opportunities for collaboration. Building on the progress achieved, the D-8 Eminent Persons Group has made useful recommendations on the way forward. I am confident that these valuable suggestions will be helpful in making the D-8 a more robust and effective Organization. Pakistan will play its role in realizing this objective.

The first test on the way ahead is an early implementation of the Agreements that we have signed. In this regard, the Preferential Trade Agreement is a key agreement. Its implementation, however, still eludes us. We must work together to build consensus on remaining issues. Pakistan is ready to assist in making the PTA operational, at the earliest.

Similarly, expeditious implementation of the Agreement on Simplification of Visa Procedures for the Businessmen will facilitate our goal of forging long-term, profitable linkages between our traders, entrepreneurs and businessmen.

Distinguished Delegates,

It is a matter of satisfaction for us that with the help of Member States, Pakistan as the D-8 Chair, successfully steered the process of obtaining ‘Observer Status’ for the Organization at the United Nations. We also organized a Special Meeting of the D-8 Ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on 25 September 2014. The meeting reflected the D-8’s determination to further strengthen its substantive interaction at international forums. Pakistan is ready to convene the second Meeting of the Council in New York later this year, if Member States so desire.

Distinguished Delegates,

During the past two years, the Government of Pakistan, under the guidance of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has taken necessary structural reforms and stabilisation measures to reinvigorate the country’s economy. As a result, Pakistan’s key economic indicators have improved.

Pakistan’s economic policies are even more liberal, business friendly and forward looking than before. The economic growth rate has risen. The Pak Rupee is stable. Foreign Exchange reserves are at an unprecedented level. Inflation is under control. Industry and agriculture sectors are growing. The work on overcoming the energy deficit, is progressing at a fast pace.

The international financial institutions as well as renowned economists have recognized Pakistan’s economic progress. Several countries, with China in the lead, are generously investing in a number of projects related to energy, transport and physical infrastructure. The investor friendly environment in the country has attracted keen interest of domestic and foreign investors, including from your countries.

We look forward to working together with D-8 members to build further, our partnerships to advance the common objectives of economic development.

Distinguished Delegates,

I am confident that the 36th Meeting of D-8 Commissioners will help us in shaping a better agenda, with solid proposals, for endorsement of our leaders when they meet again.

Let me express our appreciation of the role played by Secretary-General Dr. Mousavi in enhancing D-8 visibility and giving it a new drive. As Chair and member, Pakistan will continue to support the D-8 Secretariat in achieving the aims and objectives of the Organization.

As the second life cycle of the D-8 is around the corner, we shall actively work towards transitioning this organization from policy formulation, to project implementation phase.

Our peoples look to us for a better tomorrow. We must deliver that.

I wish you a productive meeting and a pleasant stay in Islamabad.

Thank you so much.

For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: +92-51-9205494
Fax: +92-51-9204202
Cell: +92-336-5644459