By Arif Qoreshi
Islamabad: Addressing a press conference here in Islamabad Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar said that Pakistan will improve its image at the regional and international levels when the leaders of eight developing countries gather in the capital for the D-8 Summit.
Leaders of eight developing countries will arrive here for the Eighth Summit of Developing Eight (D-8) on November 22 on the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari.
The D-8, which was established in 1997 by former Turkish prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, comprises Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Indonesia. But no gulf country is part of this forum.
The Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the summit.
Bangladesh and Malaysian prime ministers who had earlier agreed to attend the summit have now declined to come Islamabad. Their representatives will take part in the conference.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that the D-8 summit was of extraordinary significance as it would adopt the organization’s charter and its global vision.
The leaders will witness signing of the charter by the foreign ministers at a special ceremony following the summit, she added.
She said that the leaders would also adopt Islamabad Declaration 2012 reaffirming their joint resolve for making concerted efforts to confront common challenges.
Significance of the summit
the summit would witness the visit of an Egyptian president after forty years and that of a Nigerian leader after around 28 years.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has asked Pakistan to put the Middle East crises on the agenda of the D-8 meeting.
The combined population of the eight countries is about 60% of the Muslim population and close to 13% of the world’s population. The current trade between the D-8 member states stands at over $70 billion. However, the organization has so far made little impact at the global level.
Targets of the summit
The foreign minister said that the visit of D-8 leaders to Pakistan would open new vistas for expanding trade and investment relations with all the D-8 countries as the main purpose of the summit was to promote trade, economic ties and promote people-to-people contacts.
Pakistani Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf has said that they are working towards boosting the trade target to the mark of 5 billion dollar between the Developing Eight (D8) Muslim countries which will bolster economic activities.
The group is determined to boost its trade volume to US$500 billion by 2018.
On the side lines of the summit, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will hold bilateral meetings with visiting leaders.
The writer is an editor of thefortress.com.pk