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Pakistan has emerged as a politically mature nation as it has proved though its conduct that despite of its limited financial resources it has been generously accommodating 3.5 million Afghan refugees for the last many decades, said Dr Arif Alvi President Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Addressing the FCCI Business Excellence Award distribution ceremony arranged by the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) at a hotel here on Thursday, he underlined the importance of trade, commerce and industry and said that no doubt businessmen do their jobs to earn profit, but at the same time, they also create new jobs in addition to earn precious foreign exchange for the country. "Above all their role in social sector is also highly appreciable", he remarked.
He termed Pakistan one of the most generous country that has accommodated more than 3.5 million Afghan refugees out of which 2 to 2.5 million are still residing in Pakistan.
He compared this noble gesture with other highly developed countries that are not ready to accept even a few refugees. Without quoting any country, he said that although it was one of the richest country but it was not ready to accept 50 refugees despite having unlimited resources.
Some of these countries who were regularly advising Pakistan have left helpless refugees to drown in Mediterranean Sea. But the spirit of humanity practically expressed by Pakistan has elevated its image as a most prestigious and God fearing country among the comity of nations.
He said that no doubt Pakistan is a developing country and it has to sacrifice its own limited jobs but being a conscious nation it has played an unprecedented role and we must take proud of it.
He also mentioned the recent tension between Pakistan and India and said that in India, its leaders, civil society and the media all were hostile and was creating war hysteria but at the same time, in Pakistan we proved through our conduct that we are a peace loving nation.
He said that xenophobia and Islam-phobia have affected the entire world but Pakistan has successful overcome extremism and terrorism. "We are lucky that we have successfully handled this menace with courage and fortitude whereas other countries are going to face it now", he added.
"It is our political maturity and international community must recognize it", he said and added that Pakistan has now come out of difficult time and our economy is expected to grow at a much faster pace just within next few months.
He said the government is working to improve Pakistan's ranking in terms of ease of doing business and competitiveness with a target to bring it down up to the ranking of 100.
Regarding IT, he said that it is the most important sector which could transform our economy by involving neglected segment of female population.
He said that in IT and digital economy, our share is less than 1 percent which is 38 percent in case of China.
He said that in old days we were providing sewing machines to our females so that they could generate economic activities by sitting in their homes.
He told that IT will provide them an opportunity to work and earn in this changed environment as their market will now be the entire world.
Regarding demand and production, the president quoted the example of Philippines and said that in 2016 its IT export was only 4 billion dollars which jumped to 20 billion dollars in 2018.
About agriculture, he said that it has huge potential to grow but we have to realign our priorities to fulfil the real demand of farming community.
He said that government has chalked out a programme under which the agriculture graduates will have to work in farms to get practical knowledge of farming practices.
He said that tourism is yet another sector which could stabilize our economy. He further said that in 2015 only 1500 tourists had visited Gilgit and Baltistan while 2.4 million tourists have visited this beautiful scenic and unmolested valley this year.
He said that earlier, tourists were reluctant to visit Pakistan due to security reasons but as the situation has improved, the people are pouring in not only for tourism but also for religious tourism.
He said that our 20 million children are out of schools and colleges and we have responsibility to provide them basic education and in this connection private sector should also contribute its role.
He assured that he will take up the issue to set up IT University and High Court Bench in Faisalabad with concerned quarters.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain President FCCI briefed about Faisalabad and FCCI and said that this apex body is serving the business community of Faisalabad for the last 44 years.
He paid best tributes to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and said that he is working to earn respect for the country by achieving 'economic sovereignty'.
He also appreciated economic policies of present government and said that despite of critical economic situation, it has reduced gas and electricity tariff for five export sectors.
He also highlighted various problems confronted by the business community of Faisalabad and demanded establishment of IT University, bench of Lahore High and up-gradation Faisalabad International Airport.
He said that Faisalabad is very land-locked city. It has two motorways, one passing from its eastern side and another on western side. Both these motorways may be integrated through construction of link roads of motorway standard, he demanded.
Provincial Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment Mian Aslam Iqbal also addressed the function while FCCI member Amin Alsam presented piece of "Ghulaf-e-Kaabah" to President of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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