KARACHI - Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair on Tuesday said that without continuation of political process in the country, better treatment with religious minorities and having good relations with neighbours, the goal of sustainable of economic growth could not be achieved.

“Without continuation in the political process, Pakistan cannot progress economically but unfortunately political process was discontinued on several occasions since creation of Pakistan. Sometimes, political process was disrupted because of military interventions and on other occasions it was discontinued by using 58 (2) B and other means,” said Governor Muhammad Zubair.

He expressed these views while addressing the inaugural session of first edition of The Future Summit at a local hotel in Karachi.

Hundreds of business professionals from around the globe including United States, UK, Canada, Arabian Gulf countries as well heads of corporate sector organizations and multinationals are attending the two-day moot, organized by the Nutshell Conferences on modern business practices, transformation in the digital economy and innovation in the fast growing corporate world.

Citing examples of the China and India, Sindh Governor said without continuation of political process, Pakistan could not progress economically and deplored that whenever Pakistan took its economic flight, political process was disrupted, resulting in decline of socio-economic conditions in the country.

“It is not the continuation of democracy which ensures the economic growth as there is one party system in China but it is the continuation of policies and political process that is pivotal for the economic progress and prosperity. Unfortunately in Pakistan, political process was discontinued on several occasions, sometimes through military interventions and on other occasions, by using constitutional and unconstitutional means”, he maintained.

The Governor conceded that minorities were never treated fairly in Pakistan in the past by the past government, probably due to fear of backlash from the religious right or liberal left, which also hampered the economic growth of the country.

“PML-N government is the first one which recognized the services of Prof. (Abdus) Salam, the theoretical physicist who was discriminated on the basis of his beliefs”, he claimed and added that nobody should be concerned about religion of a fellow Pakistani and discriminate people on the basis of their beliefs.

The governor also advocated for having cordial relations with neighbouring countries, saying if he was asking for having good relations with our neighbours, he was not talking against Pakistan and there was no reason for questioning his patriotism.

“Common people don’t benefit from wars even after winning them. Japan and China both have serious disputes with their neighbours but they never allowed these differences to come in their way of progress and economic growth”, he said and added that there was nothing wrong if he shakes hands with any Indian businessman for the sake of trade and improving business ties.

He observed that Indian Premier Modi was given the highest civilian award of Saudi Arabia during his visit to the Kingdom, and added that this should be seen as an eye opener for policies makers and people in Pakistan.

The governor also called for strengthening and giving more space to the civil society in Pakistan for sustainable growth and progress, saying nobody should be liked or discriminated on the basis of their political affiliations or views. Speaking about recent transformation of Karachi, he maintained that Karachi has been transformed into a peaceful city due to combined and collaborative efforts of the government, Pakistan army, law enforcing agencies and other stakeholders. “Arrival of such a large number of foreigners is a clear evidence of Karachi’s transformation from a lawless city into a peaceful megapolis”, he added.

“We jointly changed the perception of the country, especially Karachi and now foreigners and cricket teams are ready to come to Karachi. In the next few months, we are hosting several international matches in Karachi”, he informed.

Commenting on digital economy, he said digital transformation was very important for Pakistan and the country was moving in the right direction as despite removal of a popular Prime Minister, political process continued without any disruption, policies remained the same as new PM was elected within a few days of the political change.

Later, talking to media men Sindh Governor said general elections would be held as per schedule in 2018 and those calling for early elections should wait for the appropriate time and contest the polls to seek will of the people.

He maintained that under PM’s Karachi package, projects in the areas of transportation, energy and water were being implemented and hoped that it would result in turning around Karachi into a developed city in the region.

UK’s Ministerial Advisor on Inclusive Enterprise Prof Francis Davis delivered keynote address on Innovating for Future and spoke at length on challenges faced by the mega cities including Karachi, role of politicians and business sector in sustainable growth and importance of inventing and re-inventing for sustainable growth.

Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, the founder and CEO of the Nutshell Conferences and Founder, Corporate Pakistan Group in his welcome address spoke on the importance of digital economy, digital disruption, artificial intelligence, industry-Academia linkages, future of mergers and prevailing corporate practices and said this summit would provide an excellent platform to business professionals and leaders to debate on future trends in trade and economy.

The future summit would continue here at a local hotel till Wednesday evening, during which national and international experts, business leaders, heads of multinational corporations and government functionaries would address different sessions.