Canada-Pakistan Business Council hosted a luncheon at the Bayview Golf andCountry Club on September 13th in honour of H.E Greg Giokas who will betaking charge as Canada’s new envoy to Pakistan in Islamabad in October.Thirty prominent CPBC members, sponsors, directors, advisors and guestsincluding Senator Salma Ataullah Jan and Mr. Akbar Adil Shah of PakistanConsulate graced the occasion with their presence. This was an exclusiveluncheon to introduce some of the key businessmen and executives withbusiness interest in both Canada and Pakistan.
President Andy Merchant introduced Mr. Giokas to the participants and askedall attendees to briefly describe their companies and their own role. Aftera sumptuous lunch, Mr. Giokas spoke about his background and his service invarious capacities with DFAIT including his role as Director General, SouthAsia. He said he was looking forward to start his new assignment inPakistan in October and was keen to work with CPBC and extended his fullcooperation. Since Mr. Giokas has never worked in Pakistan, he told theattendees that he was open for suggestion. The floor was then opened fordiscussion
Former Ambassador, Naeem Hasan, an advisor to CPBC mentioned about his role as Secretary General of SAARC and suggested that Canada should be looking more towards the Region rather than individual country as both India and Pakistan will soon be working closely on expanding their trade. He further emphasized the need for vocational training where Canada could also play a major role. He said that if business is to grow Pakistan will need skilled workforce. Mr. Mukhtar Sumar suggested that Canada should come up with a more friendly policy for the visas of the businessmen wanting to visit and invest in Canada. Mrs. Faiza Batta also an advisor to CPBC, and with thirty years of experience with the World Bank, suggested that Canada should be a signing party to Foreign Investment Protection Agreement with Pakistan and must encourage Canadian businessmen to play significant roles in areas where Canadian expertise lie. She further mentioned that US has given grants of eight million us dollars for university education this year and Canada should be doing the same. Other discussions took place regarding CIDA which is more geared towards women and social developments. However, CPBC on a number of occasions has expressed the opinion that it is the economic stability which will bring political and social stability and not vice versa. Hence it is recommended that CIDA work closely to support business activities. Finally, chairman Bryon Wilfert gave the vote of thanks and on behalf of CPBC presented Mr. Giokas with a book “Alive and Well in Pakistan” written by the American author Mr. Ethan Casey