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Shared vision to result of new dawn in S Asia integration

Islamabad: Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed on Saturday said the 21st-century is the ‘Asian Century’ in which we will witness the dominance of Asian politics, business and culture which calls for governments and private sector to play their due role.

Asia is reverting back to global supremacy in business, knowledge, culture, politics and innovation after 250 years, he said, adding that in the emerging scenario Saarc nations should brace for the change.

Mushahid Hussain said that we should have a South Asian Parliament like European Parliament to ensure rapid development.

He was speaking at a seminar titled, “Trade and Investment – New Dawn in South Asian Integration,” on the 27th Anniversary of Saarc organised by Saarc Chamber in partnership with Friedrich-Nauman Foundation.

VP FPCCI Mirza Abdul Rehman, Deputy High Commissioner (HC) Bangladesh Md. Jashimuddin, Deputy HC India Gopal Baglay, HC Nepal Bharat Raj Paudyal, First Secretary Sri Lankan High Commission E.A.S Wijayanthi Edirisinghe, Secretary General Saacr Iqbal Tabish, Chairman Media and Diplomatic Affairs FPCCI Malik Sohail and others leaders of the business community were also present on the occasion.

Speaking at the occasion, Senator Haji Adeel said that only way to provide relief to majority of the world’s population living in this region is through increased trade and reduced friction.

He said that a study by the ADB found that an additional three billion Asians could enjoy living standards similar to those in Europe today.

VP, Saarc CCI Iftikhar Ali Malik said that the region could account for over half of global output by the middle of this century but we are not prepared for it.

He said that Saarc was created for welfare of the people but political tensions have kept us from destination.

Curtailing movement of businessmen has been identified as one of the biggest hurdle in progress of region which is home to 22 per cent of world’s population with 45 per cent of young people, said Iftikhar Ali Malik.

Saarc countries, the world’s largest regional entity, has its unique characteristics but yet the intraregional trade is lowest in the world, he added.

He added that despite enormous potential the contribution of Saarc in global GDP is below two per cent and share in exports is only 1.5 per cent despite 35 million SMEs.

Ambassadors, diplomats from Saarc family and business leaders underlined the need for political commitment, review of protectionists policies, and resolution of issues to ensure dawn of a new era in history of South Asia.

The stressed developing linkages, providing services to private sector, working closely with the Governments, develop institutional framework for promoting economic cooperation.

Iqbal Tabish said that we believe in free movement of businesspersons is crucial as the visa policy is not very business friendly.

Although South Asian countries particularly India and Pakistan have significantly reduced import tariffs and the sensitive list, the cost of trading across its borders is one of the highest in the world, he added.

President and office bearers of various business chambers including HCCI, ICCI, IWCCI and that of various associations were also present on the occasion.

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