Iftikhar Ali Malik
President, SAARC Chamber
of Commerce & Industry,
Chairman, United Business Group, Former President, FPCCI & LCCI, Chief Executive, Guard Group
This year it was Pakistan’s turn to take over the Presidency of SAARC CCI. By the Grace of Almighty Allah I have assumed the office of President of SAARC CCI for the next two years — most of the SAARCa region countries are over populated and lack employment opportunities. Thus the fear of poverty always hovers on the heads of unemployed labour class.
All the SAARC member countries are blessed by the nature with fertile lands, young population and mineral wealth. Due to certain differences among the member countries these resources could neither be fully explored nor developed to play expected role in the respective sectors. Ratio of intra-trade among SAARC is hardly 5% of the total trade. So only an initiative is required to start intra-regional coordination, investment promotion, industrial cooperation and movement of goods without stringent tariff & non-tariff barriers.
CPEC was started by Pakistan and China under the program of B&RI which provides a good opportunity to the SAARC member countries to invest in the Special Economic Zones and export to Middle East & Central Asia through the shortest route. If the SAARC member countries cooperate CPEC could prove game changer not only for Pakistan but the South Asia as a whole.
During my tenure I will certainly work hard to persuade the SAARC member countries forget their differences and coordinate with the CPEC project where their investment will be safe and productive. China & Pakistan are very serious to see this project completed as per schedule, now it is upto the SAARC countries to be the first in availing this God gifted opportunity to become prosperous.