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> Briefing Session on SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area)
   Advantages and Challenges for Pakistan
Briefing Session for Parliamentarians
February 23, 2004
Hotel Marriott, Islamabad

Programme [107 KB]
Briefing Paper [PDF]
Urdu [PDF]
Event Proceedings [PDF]

PILDAT held a one-day briefing session on South Asian Free Trade Area: Advantages and Challenges for Pakistan on Monday February 23rd, 2004 at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad. The briefing session was held to enhance the knowledge of parliamentarians by providing an overview of relevant perspectives on the significance of the SAFTA agreement. Our aim was to provide parliamentarians a better understanding of SAFTA-related issues to promote more pro active Assembly debates and effective legislation.


The briefing session was attended by 28 parliamentarians and 9 other participants. For the first time, PILDAT invited members of the National Assembly Secretariat, Senate Secretariat and other concerned Ministry bodies as participants to promote capacity-building for all relevant stakeholders.


Mr. Zubair Ahmed Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry presided over Session One while Mr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Mr. Richard Newfarmer, Economic Advisor, International Trade Department, World Bank spoke. Mr. Qadir presented an overview of the Agreement on SAFTA including an overview of the SAARC economies, implications for Pakistan and issues in implementation. Mr. Richard Newfarmer followed with a power point presentation on the topic of Taking Advantage of Regional Trade: South Asia in Comparative Perspective.


Senator Ilyas Bilour presided over the second session that included a panel discussion on the economic and political impact of SAFTA on Pakistan. The five members on the panel discussion included Professor Khurshid Ahmed, Member of Senate & Chairman Institute of Policy Studies; Mr. Amjad Rafi, Executive Committee Member, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Former President of KCCI; Mr. M. Ziauddin, Resident Editor, The Dawn; and Mr. Kunwar Khalid Yunus, Member of the National Assembly. Both sessions were followed by an active Q&A session that provided a forum for debate and exchange of relevant ideas between speakers and the participating audience. The session proceedings were conducted in both Urdu and English.


Photographs and proceedings of the event will be uploaded here soon. Keep watching this space for updates regarding this event.






Overview of the Session




Members of the Panel