ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will inaugurate a four-day trade exhibition Monday, commencing a series of events culminating in the holding of eighth summit meeting of the Developing Eight (D-8) countries on November 22.

The event to be attended by leaders and representatives from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey aims at projecting Pakistan as a business destination, while underscoring the linkage of democracy with peace and development.

President Asif Ali Zardari will inaugurate and chair the Summit session that will focus on theme; “Democratic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity”.

President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi, President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Nigeria Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the Summit. Malaysia is likely to be represented by Deputy Prime Minister, while Bangladesh by its Foreign Minister.

The Summit will focus on trade promotion through implementation of agreements on preferential trade and visa facilitation for businessmen. Pakistan will stress to put in place a mechanism to facilitate private sector cooperation once D-8 finalised modalities to implement three framework agreements on visa, customs matters and preferential trade agreement.

Raja Pervez Ashraf, following the inauguration of the D-8 Trade Exhibition on Monday, will open the D-8 Business Forum on Nov 20. Both events will be the flagship events of the D-8 Summit to be attended by top corporate leaders from Pakistan and other members of the Group. Pakistan will take over the chairmanship of the D-8 for the next two years until 2014. The Summit will adopt the Organization’s Charter and its Global Vision.  The leaders will witness the signing of the Charter by the Foreign Ministers at a special ceremony and also adopt Islamabad Declaration 2012, reaffirming their joint resolve to make concerted efforts to confront common challenges.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will hold bilateral meetings with visiting leaders on the margins of the Summit. The event will also witness visit of an Egyptian President after four decades and that of a Nigerian leader after around 28 years.

The visit of D-8 leaders to Pakistan will open new vistas for expanding trade and investment relations with all D-8 countries, a Foreign Office statement said.

The Foreign Ministers, senior government officials, governors of central banks, heads of trade promotion organizations, business leaders and exhibitors will also participate in the main and sideline activities.  Preparatory meetings of the D-8 Council of Ministers, comprising the Foreign Ministers and chaired by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, will be convened on November 21, while the D-8 Commission will be convened on November 19-20. D-8 is a multilateral grouping of eight emerging economies of the Muslim world and represents different regions with a combined population of around one billion and a market of about one trillion dollars. The member countries envisage increasing intra D-8 trade to over US$ 500 billion by 2018.

The Islamabad Summit will not only contribute towards enhancing Pakistan’s image and standing but will also highlight international community’s growing confidence in the democratic Pakistan, particularly for forging business-to-business relations and public-private-partnerships, the Foreign Office statement said.

Foreign Minister Khar would brief the press on the Summit and its objectives on Monday.