Lahore - Forty-one Ambassadors and High Commissioners attended Lahore Chamber of Commerce dinner hosted in their honour where Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was Chief Guest.

Ambassador of Yemen Mr Mohammed Motahar Al-Shabi represented Dean of diplomatic Corp at the dinner which was participated by 300 top businessmen.The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir Yemen Ambassador, LCCI Senior Vice President Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Attique spoke on the occasion while the former LCCI presidents and Executive Committee Members were present on the occasion.

The LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir highlighted Pakistan export potential and available opportunities in various sectors. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that a good foreign policy can help Pakistan to cope with the economic challenges.

The foreign minister said that he has given message to the world that Pakistan wants trade, not aid. He said that the Foreign Office has a strong focus on resolving critical issues such as FATF and GSP Plus Status for Pakistan. “I have visited China, USA and other countries and also talked to the representatives of Central Asian countries and got a positive impression for Pakistan from everywhere.”

Bilawal Bhutto said that the economic diplomacy is a must for economic stability and the role of Foreign Office in this regard is commendable. He congratulated Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry for completing its 100 years and also for arranging goodwill dinner for diplomats. He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to provide all possible assistance for the promotion of trade and export led growth. He said that this is in line with our economic diplomacy goals driven by focus on geo-economics.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir in his address apprised the august gathering that Lahore Chamber has completed a century of its establishment in 2022 and he got this unique honour of becoming the 100th President of this premier business support organisation of the country.

He said that Pakistani nation has made tremendous sacrifices in the war against terrorism and we have been the most affected country in this war. Pakistan has played a key role in the economic re-construction of Afghanistan and development of United Arab Emirates.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that in the times of prosperity, Pakistan also contributed significantly in the economic development of the current economic powers like Malaysia, Singapore, China and Germany. He said that Pakistan’s five year economic plan was adopted by South Korea in 1960s which laid the foundation for the emergence of South Korea as one of the strongest economies in Asia. Delegations from various countries, which now rank among the developed economies used to visit Pakistan in 1960s to study our model of Industrialisation and growth. Pakistan has always played a frontline role in peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations.

“Now it is the time for handholding,” the LCCI president said and added that the diplomats should play their part in making the global community acknowledge the sacrifices and efforts of Pakistan. Pakistan should not be left politically and economically isolated in these challenging times. They should also support Pakistan in surmounting the steep economic challenges that are confronted by our nation.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan‘s strategic location requires that it is taken on board in important regional and global matters. It can be a good player in global and regional supply chain in the larger interest of multilateral trade system. Pakistan’s demographic divide with 230 million population needs to be tapped. Pakistan is a big source of young skilled and semi-skilled entrepreneurs in all sectors

He said that Pakistan’s economy is not only about Textiles. We have a very vibrant Information Technology sector with quality human resource. The foreign diplomatic community present here today can play a vital role in bringing foreign direct investment in the IT sector in Pakistan for setting up new technology zones. He requested the diplomats to convince their respective Governments to initiate special programmes for the skill development and placement of IT Graduates and Engineers of Pakistan in your tech industries.

“Similarly, you can play an important role in bringing foreign investors from your country for facilitating Joint Ventures (JVs) in the other vibrant sectors of our economy like Pharmaceuticals, Processed Food (especially Halal Food), Tourism, Renewable Energy and manufacturing of Solar Panels, Electric Vehicles and Mobile Devices”, Mian Nauman Kabir added. He said that Pakistani fruits are not all about Mangoes. We produce diverse fruits like Apricots, Almonds, Grapes, Guava, Banana, Berries, Citrus etc. These fruits can certainly make a place on the shelves of the premium retail outlets of your countries.

The LCCI president requested the diplomats to consider theirselves as the ambassadors of Pakistan. Nobody else can project a soft image of Pakistan as a business friendly country, especially through electronic media and social media accounts like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook etc. The economy of Pakistan needs un-wavering support of the diploamts in these challenging times.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan needs to expand the current list of FTAs and PTAs by adding more countries into it so that our exporters can get better market access to the potential markets including Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and ASEAN. It is needless to mention that the role of the heads of foreign missions will be of key importance in this regard. You must convince the relevant officials of your governments to negotiate FTAs and PTAs with Pakistan and also strengthen the banking channels for facilitating bilateral trade.

 

 

He mentioned that CPEC which has rapidly upgraded Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthened its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and Special Economic Zones has entered into next phase. He said that we would like to work with the foreign diplomatic community for better empowerment of our women workforce and make them the drivers of economic change in Pakistan. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the Lahore Chamber has always been an important destination of the appointed ambassadors in Pakistan. This great institution has always played a vital role in strengthening trade and economic ties with other countries. Holding of this dinner is a step ahead of the same agenda.

He also thanked Mohammad Motahar Alashabi, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to Pakistan for extending his unwavering support to Lahore Chamber in organizing the LCCI’s Ambassador Dinner 2022 in a befitting manner.