Pakistan to sell turnaround story to lure investors

Published: January 22, 2019
Some important heads of government and state have pulled out from the WEF this year due to difficult domestic political and economic circumstances, including US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: FILE

Some important heads of government and state have pulled out from the WEF this year due to difficult domestic political and economic circumstances, including US President Donald Trump. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: As the world’s most rich and powerful businesses and political leaders gather in Davos, Pakistan will showcase peace in Balochistan on the sidelines of annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meetings.

The four-day gathering of the global elite will begin today (Tuesday) with the theme of “Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Some important heads of government and state have pulled out this year due to difficult domestic political and economic circumstances, including US President Donald Trump.

This time, no federal government high-up is attending the event from Pakistan, missing an opportunity to tell global investors about the prospects of investment.

However, the Pathfinder Group has arranged sideline events for Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan to highlight peace in the once insurgency-hit province and investment prospects, including in Gwadar. He will be assisted by Corps Commander of Southern Command Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

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The chief minister will address the audience at the traditional Pakistan Dinner and Pakistan Breakfast in addition to participating in the Pakistan pavilion. These events have been arranged by the Pathfinder Group, whose Chairman Ikram Sehgal was elected chairman of the K-Electric board last week.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (Retired) Mian Saqib Nisar will be the chief guest at the Pakistan Breakfast. He will speak about his experience of dispensing justice at one of the most critical times in Pakistan.

This year, over 60 heads of state or government, 1,900 business leaders, over 200 media leaders from around the world and hundreds of representatives from the civil society, young generation, technologists and the world’s top minds are attending the Davos 2019 meeting.

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On Tuesday, the chief minister of Balochistan will speak about economic opportunities and dividends of peace during a session being arranged at the picturesque Shatzalp Restaurant.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan pavilion will be inaugurated at Hotel Panorama for the second consecutive year. The traditional Pakistan Breakfast has been arranged on Thursday at Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvédère, which will be addressed by the former CJP Nisar and the chief minister of Balochistan.

On the same day, Pakistan Lunch will take place, where an open dialogue will be held with the former CJP. Unlike last year, when personalities like Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi attended the event, this year very few Pakistanis are attending the gathering.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Dr Sania Nishtar will participate in the WEF sessions this year again. Chinoy has at least three sessions at the WEF platform. On Tuesday, there will be a session on Financial Innovation for Global Health, to be participated by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Co-Chair William H Gates III, and Heartfile Pakistan Founder and President Dr Sania Nishtar, who has recently been appointed chairperson of the Council on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

On Wednesday, the two-time Academy Award winning film director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy will shed light on her latest documentary, ‘Freedom Fighters’, an inspiring story of three Pakistani women taking a stand against violence at the hands of men. The session will be moderated by Kumi Naidoo, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, the United Kingdom and a young global leader.

Chinoy will also participate in a session titled ‘Speaking out under Threat’, which will highlight the plight of activists, artists and professors facing online to physical harassment.

On Thursday, she will participate in a third session titled “Return of the Strongman”. According to the Freedom House Index, 2018 marked the 12th consecutive year of decline in political freedom. How are authoritarian forms of governance shifting prospects and pathways of global governance?

The topics for discussion will be politicisation of business and investment, societal cohesion and public discourse, succession and election horizons.

On Wednesday, there will be a session on the “Global Value Chains: Race to the Top”, which will highlight the issue of linking developing economies with the global value chain. Abid Butt, Chief Executive Officer of e2e Supply Chain Management, Pakistan – a young global leader, will participate in the discussion.

There will be a session on day one on the “Strategic Outlook on South Asia”, which will be participated by Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of Afghanistan. The theme of the session is to highlight the potential of the region that accounts for 21% of the world’s population, yet intra-regional trade accounts for less than 5% of their overall trade.

Raghuram G Rajan, former central bank governor of India, will also speak along with KP Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2019.

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