LAHORE - Although, major breakthrough on political fronts is not expected in the 18th SAARC Summit schedule on November 26-27 at Kathmandu Nepal, the private sector of South Asia is hopeful for some positive outcome from the highest forum of South Asia represented at the level of heads of states. 

 The program of the 18th SAARC Summit has already commenced from Friday, with the start of the Programming Committee meeting followed by a Standing Committee meeting at the level of foreign secretaries on November 23-24, a Council of Ministers meeting on November 25 and a Summit-level meeting on November 26-27 according to the format of the Summit, which is taking place after three years- the previous held on November 10, 2011 at Maldives.

“The leadership of SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SAARC CCI) is expecting adoption of some major but longstanding agreements, which promise to foster integration process in the region” Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President SAAR CCI (Pakistan chapter) said that the Summit provides an excellent opportunity to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to meet and resolve the current deadlock in the larger interest of South Asia.

Mr. Malik informed that several proposals of SAARC CCI in the 9th SAFTA group of Experts Meetings have been referred to the Ministerial session, which is likely to be adopted in the Charter of the Summit. These proposals include  early conclusion of SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments; more favourable SAFTA Rules of Origin for the LDC Member States of SAARC; early conclusion of SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Railways Agreement; mechanism to address non-tariff barriers; simplification of customs procedures and documentation and reducing administrative delays and moving towards electronic/digital platforms for clearance of goods; establishment of SAARC Development Bank for facilitating cross-border trade and infrastructure.

On the occasion of the Summit, SAARC CCI has arranged sideline activities, including call on to Heads of States, session with media to response to 18th SAARC Summit.

In addition to Iftikhar Ali Malik a 10-member delegation of SAARC CCI including Senior Vice President Mr. Suraj Vaidya (Nepal), Vice Presidents, immediate Past President Vikramjit Singh Sahney and Vice President Ramesh Kumar Mutha,(India) , Former President Mr. Annisul Huq and Ms. Monowara Hakim Ali (Bangladesh), Dasho Ugen Tschup Dorji, former President and Vice President Mr. Karma Lotey (Bhutan), Zubair Ahmed Malik, EC member , Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General and Zulfiqar Ali Butt, Deputy Secretary General will participate in these activities.