Exclusive: Regional connectivity and economic development are the actual themes of the upcoming ECO summit being held in Islamabad- Nafees Zakria
Most of the ECO members have confirmed their participation in the Summit
"Fikr o Nazar"
Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said connectivity for regional prosperity is theme of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit to be held in Islamabad on Wedenesday. Briefing media about ECO Summit , he said the forum will deliberate and decide on ways and means to augment cooperation in the areas of connectivity , trade, energy, tourism, investment, industry, economic growth, productivity, social self-aware and environment. The initiatives for furtherance of education and scientific linkages, cultural and people to people contacts within the ECO will also be deliberated upon during the Summit . China Pakistan Economic Corridor is an outstanding example of the Summit 's theme of connectivity and it will augment the existing and planned transit and energy corridors in ECO region for greater progress and prosperity for the people of the area. Sartaj Aziz said the theme of connectivity will help foster rail, rail, air, energy, cyber, and knowledge based connectivity .
Analysts live on Phone:
Nafees Zakaria (Spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs):
Geographically, Pakistan is located at an important place for regional connectivity . It is situated at the cross roads of West, South and Central Asia. We have a significant role in regional connectivity . Regional connectivity and economic development are the actual themes of this upcoming ECO summit . How to interconnect regional and bilateral projects with each other will also be discussed during this summit . Pakistan can be an easy and cheapest way out for landlocked Central Asian republics and Afghanistan. All these issues will be discussed during the meeting and a framework will be decided. CPEC is an illustrious example for regional connectivity , which will connect western province of China with Arabian Sea through shortest land route of Pakistan. It has given confidence to regional countries.
Khalid Khattak (Former Ambassador):
ECO summits take place in different countries at different times. It focuses on cooperation between member countries. ECO as an organization is not under Indian influence at all. Iran, Turkey and Central Asian republics are members of ECO and they are not under Indian influence. ECO meeting in Pakistan is reflecting the confidence of world community on Pakistan.
Mirza Ikhtiyar Baig (Economist):
This is a significant summit for Pakistan. The presidents of Chamber of Commerce of 10 countries will participate in this summit . Presentations will be made on different sectors like energy and tourism etc. In the summit , Presentations will be made about impact of CPEC on ECO member countries. We want ECO member countries to be onboard over CPEC as well. Foreign minister level meetings will also take place during the summit . ECO summit is taking place when CPEC is on full swing. It will be great development if ECO member countries are connected with CPEC. We will lobby to keep ECO headquarter in Pakistan.
Dr. Maria Sultan (Expert on Deffence & World Affairs):
This ECO summit may help Pakistan to integrate in global economy. Also, it may help to utilize potential of our youth. It may help for cultural integration of member countries. If we are able to integrate bilateralism with multilateralism, it may help the entire region. All member countries of ECO want economic stability, which is a positive omen. To overcome regional issues an alternate mechanism of engagement like ECO is very much important.
Host: Dr. Sajjad Bukhari
Co-Host: Dr. Khuram Iqbal