The visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague accompanied by Mr. Adam Thompson British High Commissioner to Pakistan and other members of his delegation had a lunch meeting with members of the Pakistan Business Council in Karachi. On his arrival Mr. Hague was welcomed by Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman MCB and founder member of the Pakistan Business Council along with Mr. Asad Umar, Chairman Pakistan Business Council. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Hague emphasized the need to develop economic links between the two countries and of the vital role that business forums like the Pakistan Business Council could play in fostering this relationship.
The MCB Chairman, Mian Mohammad Mansha said that despite the challenges facing the country, the business community was optimistic about the future as the key ingredients for success, namely a democratic government, an independent judiciary and a free media were in place.
The Pakistan Business Council members strongly advocated the need for greater regional trade access while at the same time expressed concern about the misuse and abuse of the current Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. Further, the participants urged the British Government to help support Pakistan’s demand for access to EU markets which would contribute to employment and thereby contain the spread of terrorism in the country.
The foreign secretary was also briefed about the sectors which needed improvement and were retarding the economic growth rate of the economy, namely, energy, infrastructure and education which also represented investment opportunities. The British Foreign Secretary and the High Commissioner both expressed the view that they would support the economic development of the country.
Others members of the Pakistan Business Council who also spoke on the occasion were Mr. Asad Umar (Chairman Pakistan Business Council), Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Mr. Hussain Dawood, Mr. Bashir Ali Mohammed, Mr. Muneer Kamal, Mr. Iqbal Lakhani, Mr. Salman Burney, Mian Abdullah, Mr. Sohail Wajahat Siddiqui, Mr. Badar Kazmi and Mr. Asif Saad.
During the course of the meeting, Mr. Kamran Y. Mirza (CEO Pakistan Business Council) took the opportunity to brief the delegation about the objectives and composition of the Pakistan Business Council, namely that it is a think tank-cum-business policy advocacy forum comprising of 27 of the largest companies and groups which include some multinationals.