Summit meeting Inaugural Address by
Prime Minister Islamic
Republic of Pakistan
14 March, 1995
Prime Ministers and
Ministers of the ECO Member States,
I thank you
for conferring on me the honor of chairing
the third ECO Summit meeting. I am confident
that with full support from you all, our
meeting will make a significant contribution
to the progress of our regional cooperation
under the aegis of the ECO.
On behalf of
the people and the Government of Pakistan, I
welcome our distinguished guests to this
springtime of political and economic rebirth
in Islamabad. May the colors and fragrance
of the season be your special welcome from
our people, our city and our Nation?
tapestry of history, our strong cultural and
trading ties, our religious bonds, our
mutual goals and objectives have woven us
together into a rich communal cloth. Our
poetry, our literature, our songs, our
dances, our legends reflect the community of
our nations, the brotherhood of our people.
This common heritage has given us the
collective political will, and the
modus operandi for further regional
cooperation and integration amongst our ten
cleansing winds of economic liberalization
and free trade are sweeping through the
We all stand
at the threshold of a rapidly changing
post-Cold War order, a post-modern political
era of complexity that has replaced the
simplistic polarities of the cold and the
old East-West confrontation.
regional organizations for economic cooperation
like the European Community, the North Atlantic
Free Trade Association, ASEAN and APEC are
replacing NATO and the Warsaw Pact as the
defining operationalization of the new
replaced missiles as the measure of might.
The ten nations
of the ECO must take full advantage of the new,
worldwide economic trends by maximizing regional
resource potential will only be realized when we
work together to develop economic
competitiveness in the world marketplace.
We need to
educate and train our people so that they will
have the skills in the modern marketplace, to
provide for their children and end the cycle of
poverty that plagues us in the developing world.
populations comprise over 300 million people.
Together we live on an enormous land mass
spanning seven million square kilometers. We are
an economic force to be reckoned with in the
post-Cold War era. By realizing the full
potentialities of our economies, we can, God
willing, turn our peoples' hopes into
substantive achievements in the emerging
Just two years
ago, we took the historic decision to enlarge
the membership of ECO to include Afghanistan and
the six newly independent states of Central Asia
and the Caucasus. In these two years, we drew up
plans in the Istanbul Declaration and the Quetta
Plan of Action for the development of
infrastructure in the region. We are exploring
joint ventures for trade.
the realization of these goals may be slow. But
we must make sure they are heading in the right
direction — first steps in a long and arduous
journey towards closer cooperation.
On the eve of
our meeting, Excellencies, China, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzia and Pakistan made an agreement in
Islamabad for the Karakorum Highway which was
originally the Silk Route, for trade with the
outside world. With this agreement, an era of
much contested search for warm waters has been
brought to a peaceful denouement.
summit meeting, we plan to sign an agreement for
facilitating transit trade throughout the ECO
region. Our national development plans already
reflect the highest priority accorded to the
development of infrastructural links within the
Government of Pakistan has already allocated Rs.
500 million for upgrading the Karakorum Highway
into a modern all-weather road. This road will
link us directly to the Kyrghyz Republic through
Kyrghizia into Central Asia. In anticipation of
the stabilization of Afghanistan, we have drawn
up plans for reconstruction of its highway
system as well as pre-feasibility for railway
link integrating Pakistan's rail network through
Afghanistan with that of Central Asia through
Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. We are already
expanding rail and road links between Iran and
Pakistan. Potential also exists for building a
road link across the Wakhan border into
are aimed at providing the shortest outlets to
the sea for Central Asian neighbors. Similar
measures are underway in Iran and Turkey which
will help boost the Southward trade traffic
Such links also
promote people-to-people contacts essential for
joint ventures and an early awareness of trading
For us in
Pakistan, there has been a dramatic increase in
the regional aviation links. Regular air
services are now available to virtually most ECO
capitals. Air travel has become simple and safe.
prospects for economic development are often
being overshadowed by conflict and turbulence.
Our region manifests human tragedy - the
suffering of the people of Afghanistan,
Azerbaijan, Kashmir and Tajikistan. This
continuing human tragedy is an avoidable
impediment to the process of development,
promotion of trade and investment in our region.
countries need to take a firm stand against
terrorism and militancy.
civil war are evil scepters that are threatening
the well-being of our hardworking people.
between our region and full integration into the
new technology of the new century, the modern
miracle of the third millennium.
peaceful and cooperative relations with all its
neighbors. We are still burdened with the
lingering legacy of colonialism, the baggage of
the aborted agenda of autonomy, which continues
to bedevil our relation with India.
For over five
years, an indigenous uprising has erupted in the
Indian-occupied Kashmir. It is an intifada for
the basic and universal right of
self-determination. This struggle for freedom
has unfortunately evoked a draconian response
from New Delhi, making a mockery of human
Pakistan is a
direct party to the Kashmir dispute, as
recognized by the United Nations. We have tried,
so far unsuccessfully, to convince India to
allow the international community to implement
Security Council resolutions, guaranteeing the
right of the people of Kashmir and Jammu to
decide, whether they wish to accede to India or
Pakistan. Until the basic right of
self-determination is implemented, genuine peace
in South Asia will continue to be beyond our
After a decade
long miraculous fight against repression and
occupation by the communist superpower, peace
still eludes the tragic people of Afghanistan.
The continuing fratricide is an on-going cause
of concern to all of us. We continue to work
with the UN and with the OIC to achieve peaceful
reconciliation in Afghanistan.
We fully support
the process of bringing about peace and
stability in Tajikistan through the good offices
of the UN Secretary General. The aggression on
Azerbaijan needs to be reversed and is causing
sympathy and concern in Islamabad, as elsewhere
in the ECO region. All such efforts and measures
will, we hope, promote peace and stability in
Our region has
been blessed by Allah with an abundance of
resources — oil, gas, coal, hydro-electricity,
various minerals as well as industrial and
must generate adequate investment funds, acquire
managerial skills geared to the market economy
and, in the case of our new member-states,
develop alternative routes of access to world
We have taken
some steps to meet these challenges. Pakistan
has offered training facilities at our training
institutions. We have provided supplier credits
to our ECO partners. However, we need to develop
a more coherent approach to resolving these
problems, including joint efforts to secure
capital resources from international
institutions and private sectors investors.
I may recall
here that the new trading regime under W.T.O.
envisages flow of services just like the flow of
other commodities. We, therefore, need to focus
on the services in our joint deliberations, in
our planning for regional integration. Clearly,
we are in different stages of development, but
we are all undergoing rapid change. There is
much we can do individually, and some of that
restructuring is difficult, many of our economic
decisions are painful. Nevertheless we must
proceed with the market agenda of the new
millennium, and we can so proceed on the
regional integration of our economies. With
increased involvement of the private sector in
development activity, our governments need to
redefine regulatory functions, simplifying
procedures, we need to provide necessary
economic information and generally produce an
environment conducive to regional cooperation.
recognizes the merits of the South-South
Cooperation and world-wide regionalization of
economies in EC, ASEAN, NAFTA and APEC.
economic development is a necessary prerequisite
to peace and stability. Economic development and
political development need proceed together. We
must never have to choose between the two.
of regional cooperation have never been greater
than in the rapidly changing environment of
today. The establishment of Group of Eminent
persons for enhancing the effectiveness of ECO
is a very welcome step.
compliment the ECO Ministers and Senior
Officials for their contribution at the meetings
of the Council of Ministers and Senior
Officials. Important decisions were taken then.
We hope that at
Islamabad Summit, major agreements on the
Simplification of Visa Procedures for the
Businessmen of ECO countries, ECO Trade and
Development Bank, ECO Shipping Company and ECO
AIR will be signed to build an institutional
basis for economic collaboration. The Treaty o!
Izmir envisages the establishment of Reinsurance
Company. We expect to arrive at a decision about
the establishment in the near future.
I express our
appreciation to the Secretary General of ECO for
his dedication and contribution to the work of
conclusion of Uruguay Round, global trade has
entered a new phase. The ECO countries need to
evaluate the implementation of this development
with particular reference to the World Trade
Organization and the newly liberalized trading
environment in which the ECO countries will have
to operate and compete.
Our region is
capable of taking a quantum leap into an
unchartered future — a future of unlimited
opportunity, a future of infinite hope.
We have already
enshrined the political will for this
extraordinary new era in the Istanbul
Declaration and the Quetta Plan of Action.
We now need to
mobilize —jointly and individually — financial
resources as well as managerial and technical
skills to secure timely implementation of our
The task before
us is surely not easy. But this is a remarkable
time of transition and transformation, and the
decisions we take now can affect the lives of
our people, and the very futures of our nations,
as we cross into a new millennium. The times
demand innovation, the times demand boldness,
the times demand courage.
As it was said
"The only limit
to our realization of tomorrow will be our
doubts today. Let us move forward with strong
and active faith."
I thank you,