Islamabad, June 10, 2014 (PPI-OT):
Hon’ble Secretary General Seyed Mousavi
Distinguished Commissioners and Heads of Delegation
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to welcome you all to Islamabad.
The Istanbul gathering of our leaders in 1997 yielded a vision of improving the living standards of our peoples and making our nations prosperous.
In the nearly past two decades, we have charted a course of action to ensure compliance with D-8’s objectives. It is a matter of satisfaction for Pakistan that when the D-8 chair passes to Turkey at the end 2014, the organization would be on solid footing, exemplified by a robust Secretariat and conceptual framework.
We now have a Global vision up to 2030, with clear benchmarks. We already have a ten year road map prioritizing trade, industry, agriculture, transportation and energy.
D-8 is a young organization. But it has matured quickly and is moving in the right direction. However, constant effort is the key to ensure that the organization continues to become more meaningful.
To unlock the true potential of D-8, it would stand our governments in good stead to enhance the interaction and mutually beneficial cooperation of the private sector.
The very fact that we are gathered here testifies to our collective confidence in the grouping’s prospects.
As D-8 chair, Pakistan has endeavoured to have the D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement implemented. As Chair of the PTA Supervisory Committee for the next two years, Pakistan would strive further towards this end. We hope to cover fresh ground during the 4th Supervisory Committee Meeting to be held in Islamabad.
Importance of a uniform visa procedure for our business persons cannot be over emphasized. Towards this end, the decisions emerging from the concerned authorities’ Tehran meeting, constitute a step in the right direction.
We should aim at implementation of the three legal instruments on Trade, Visa and Customs in the early months of the next D-8 life cycle. This would stand us in good stead in achieving the ambitious target of raising intra-D-8 trade to US$500 billion in the next four years.
We also have high expectations that the recently established D-8 Eminent Persons Group will identify ways and means to make this organization truly beneficial for its One billion D-8 inhabitants. I understand the Honourable Secretary-General Dr. Mousavi will be presenting a report on the outcome of the first EPG meeting held in Istanbul last month.
The 35th Session of the D-8 Commission comes at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government is pressing ahead with its vision of “Peace for Development.” We have embarked upon promoting durable peace and reconciliation in the region, which would dovetail into economic and social development.
Given the genuine expectations of our youthful population, peace is an imperative; not an option. The Government has launched various projects related to energy, transport and physical infrastructure. We are also pursuing trade and economic corridors, linking Pakistan with other regions. These linkages will redound to the benefit of business-to-business interaction and public-private partnerships.
Attracting foreign investment in these projects and other areas is the pivotal aspect of our development strategy. The initiatives of the government have created investment friendly environment, with 100% foreign ownership and no limit on repatriation of profits. A great opportunity, therefore, awaits investors from your countries to do business in Pakistan.
Commercial and business integration with other countries and regions being a key plank of our national policy, we attach seminal importance to D-8. The development objectives of our leaders will be greatly facilitated by D-8’s success in forging long term and sustainable linkages between our traders, entrepreneurs, bankers and businessmen. There is no gain saying the fact that all of our governments would need to bolster efforts to institutionalize such linkages.
The framework agreements provide us a solid basis to facilitate business linkages unencumbered by red-tape. We would be better served by focusing on agreed priority areas instead of straining our resources by spreading out the agenda.
Allow me to conclude by expressing appreciation for the active role of Secretary-General Seyed Mousavi, for the betterment of D-8. I would also like to underline the need to augment the human and financial resources of the D-8 Secretariat. Pakistan will continue to work towards strengthening the D-8 Secretariat.
By the grace of Almighty Allah, our collective efforts would produce benefits for our one-billion strong citizenry. We owe it to them to translate words into deeds.
I thank you all and wish you a productive meeting and a pleasant stay in Pakistan.
For more information, contact:
Mr. Aizaz Ahmad Ch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan