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Pakistan-France Business Alliance co-hosted an interactive session with the Federal Minister of Commerce Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan as the Chief Guest.

The interactive session was held at a local hotel in Karachi on January 22, 2015 and the topic under review was 'Prime Minister's Vision 2025'.

The event was organized by the Chairman of the Pak- Korea Business & Friendship Council Mr. Ahsan M. Zubairi with the support of leading bilateral business councils and forums from France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Australia, Belgium, Russia and Sri Lanka.

In attendance were diplomats from France, Afghanistan, Iran, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as notable members of the business community.

The welcome address was made by Mr. Ahsan Zubairi.

As Mr. Jamil Hamdani Chairman/CEO of Pakistan-France Business Alliance was unable to attend the session due to a prior commitment, the PFBA Vice Chairman Mr. Saeed Allawala addressed the audience.

Mr. Allawala highlighted the challenges faced by the country, as enumerated in the policy document on Vision 2025 and also talked about how in order to achieve these objectives the Pakistan Vision 2025 has based itself on 5+7 model, five enablers and seven pillars.

The Vice Chairman spoke in detail on the concrete targets and the premises for attaining the targets

This in depth talk by Mr. Allawala was followed with an address by Mr. Majyd Aziz, the Acting President of the Pak-Sri Lanka Business Forum and then the Chief Guest Mr. Khurram Dastgir Khan was invited to address the audience.

The minister started his talk by focusing on an inclusive economic growth in the Prime Minister's Vision 2025 and how gradually social justice and equality will provide new opportunities to every Pakistani in coming years.

He said the energy crisis and extremism were the two main barriers on the way of executing the vision-2025. However, he said, the democratic government was fighting terrorism as after the terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar it had become a more serious challenge for the country.

Mr. Dastgir said his government had already started taking strict measures against extremism and terrorism in the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack during which over 140 people were killed. "No matter what they say to justify their act, the Peshawar school attack was a terrible tragedy," he said.

The minister appealed to the people to support the elected government in fighting this menace because it has very bad effect on the economy and development of the country.
He said that the  'Prime Minister's Vision 2025' is 'People First' where the Government will try to create opportunities for all Pakistanis"; he went on to say that this vision will prove as an agent of social and economic change in the country.

On tackling the energy crisis, he said gas shortages will on the very least decrease from April this year after the import of LNG into the country. But, he added, his government will need another 18-24 months to show marked improvement in energy supplies.

While mentioning the successes of his government, he said Pakistan has already earned $1.08 billion in exports to the EU in the first 10 months (Jan-Oct) of 2014.

"The skeptics of the GSP Plus scheme must see what our exporters have achieved with their hard work despite severe energy shortages and security issues in the country," said Khan firmly. "The skeptics should change their mind and see how they can contribute to support growth and exports of the country."

He thanked the European partners for all their support in getting the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Plus scheme from the European Union.

While asking the support of private sector for the ongoing privatization drive, he said his government would continue to move ahead on privatization and liberalization.

The minister did accept that there are huge structural issues that are hindering the growth of the country. "The people of Pakistan have demonstrated that they want to grow… Now we have to step up and change our thought process to move ahead," he added.

During the Q & A session, members from the business community highlighted different issues like low tax collection, security problems, red tape, slow reforms and other major problems that the country has been facing for decades.

Pakistan-France Business Alliance is pleased to have co-hosted this dynamic and enlightening event.

PFBA co-hosts Interactive session with Khurram Dastgir.