LAHORE - The OIC Ambassadors Conference being arranged by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry would be a great landmark therefore the government of Pakistan fully endorses it and would extend every possible help to make it a big success.

This was stated by Additional Foreign Secretary Munawar Saeed while talking to the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday. Director General OIC Ayaz Khan, LCCI former Presidents Bashir A Buksh, Mian Anjum Nisar, former Senior Vice President Sohail Lashari, former Vice Presidents Aftab Ahmad Vohra, Sohail Azhar, Executive Committee members Husnain Reza Mirza, Mehmood Ghaznvi, Zeeshan Khalil, Fahimur Rehman Sehgal, Ch Wajid Ali, Sheikh Mohammad Ayub also spoke on the occasion.

The top Foreign Ministry official said that the government is focused on and committed towards the promotion of intra-regional trade and LCCI OIC Ambassadors Conference, scheduled for April 14, 2012, would be supplementing the government efforts in a big way.

He said that since early 1970s, member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have been pursuing the goal of enhancing economic and commercial cooperation to improve the economic linkages and coordination among themselves and to jointly act against the global challenges facing them. Special attention has been given to trade and considerable efforts have been exerted at various OIC forums to develop ways and means of joint cooperative action to increase trade among the OIC countries.

He, however, stressed the need for market diversification as there are seven countries in the African region that have attained the status of the fastest growing economies of the world and offers huge business opportunities to Pakistani entrepreneurs. “We need to look at Africa and Latin America as in North African region Pakistan’s presence is very week.”

Talking about Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the Additional Foreign Secretary said that work is in progress on this project of national importance that is an answer to our energy woes.

He also spoke about potential exists in Thar coal, saying that some coal gasification projects are well on way despite the fact that there are technical issues that are coming in the way.Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that the OIC Ambassadors Conference would help explore and exploit the potential of trade and investment among member countries of the OIC.

The LCCI President said that it is high time that we should change the direction of our foreign policy towards economic diplomacy. For that matter the role of chambers of commerce cannot be overlooked. “We will certainly like to contribute by also participating in Bilateral and Multilateral Committees.” 

Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that all Preferential Trade Agreements which are yet to be finalized should be completed on priority basis.  The LCCI President sought the Foreign Office intervention for early fianlisation of currency swap agreement with Iran as only because of the absence of banking channels a lot of trade activity can not be materialized.