SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Collaboration with SCWEC (SAARC Chamber of Commerce Women Entrepreneurs Council), Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Board of Investment and in partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation organized South Asian Women Summit on 20th March, 2014 in Lahore, Pakistan.

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab, Main Shahbaz Sharif was the chief Guest of the conference and address the inaugural session. During the Inaugural Session, Mrs. Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Member National Assembly assumes the responsibility of Chairperson of SCWEC along with Ms. Hina Mansab Khan as Vice Chairperson SCWEC (Pakistan).  The inaugural session was also addressed by Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President SAARC CCI (Pakistan), Mr. S. M Munir, Chairman TDAP,  Mr. Pervez Malik, Member National Assembly, Mr. Imran Afzal Cheema, Secretary, BOI, Mrs. Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Chairperson (Elect) SCWEC, Ms. Pramila A. Rijal, Chairperson (Out going) and Mr. Bharat Raj Poudyal, Ambassadors of Nepal to Pakistan.

Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President, SAARC CCI (Pak), Ms. Pramila A. Rijal and Mr. Iqbal Tabish,
Secretary General, SAARC CCI is presenting SAARC CCI official crest to Hon’ble Chief Minister of Punjab,
Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, in presence of S M Munir, CEO, TDAP  and
Ms. Shireen Arshad Khan, CEO AHAN - Pakistan.

While welcoming the respected delegates from SAARC Countries, Chief Guest Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistani women are very talented and rendering invaluable services in various sectors of life. Though women have proved their mettle in all fields of human endeavour still they will have to play a more active role.  Shahbaz Sharif said that SAARC member states should promote bilateral trade and economic relations in the larger interest of their people.

Earlier to his inaugural address, Mr. Iqbal Tabish, Secretary General, SAARC CCI while delivering the introductory remarks said that women empowerment was key to economic turnaround and the incentives to facilitate women entrepreneurs must be enhanced for this purpose by the governments of SAARC member countries.

Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President, SAARC CCI (Pakistan) said that women participation in economic activities is must to achieve the targets set for progress and prosperity particularly in South Asia where women accounts for more than half of the total population. He added that purpose of empowerment of women in South Asia is to bring them into mainstream of development. Journey of progress and prosperity
Ms. Pramila A. Rijal, Outgoing Chairperson SCWEC said this organization was an initiative to promote stronger cooperation between the businesswomen in the region and has the potential for increasing trade between SAARC member nations, the challenges therein and the opportunities for businesswomen within the region. She said that businesswomen need to be made aware of their potentials and their positive points in order to save industries and once the strengths are put in place anything is possible. She added that the position of the SCWEC is handed over to right women of Pakistan which she believes and confident on her abilities to ad lots more to it.   

Mrs. Shaista Pervaiz Malik, while expressing gratitude to SAARC Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President, SAARC CCI (Pakistan) for providing an opportunity to serve as Chairperson of SAARC CCI Committee for Women Entrepreneurs, she said that the women entrepreneurs could play a vital role for development of South Asia if they were provided equal opportunities and resources. She suggested that TDAP should enhance the incentives given to women entrepreneurs. She said that Pakistani women, who make well over fifty percent of total population, cannot be kept away from mainstream development in the country. Women should come forward and play their role for well being of the country. She said that women's economic independence and empowerment was the best way to cope the issues of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, extremism and corruption in the South Asia.

At this occasion, the Chief Minister announced land and other facilities for handicraft village of SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry and setting up of women garments zone in the garments zone for business women and said the Punjab government will give more resources to them than the ratio of their population if they join the process of development.

The inaugural session was followed with Techincal session which was chaired by Mrs. Ayesha Zaheer, Executive Committee Member, SCWEC (Pak) and was address by Ms. Rabia Javery Agha, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Ms. Rina Latif, Professional Fashion Designer under the brand Rina Latif (Bangladesh), Ms. Archana Garodia Gupta, Business woman founder, one of India’s premier Fashion Jewellery brands and  Hon Justice Ms. Shiranee Tilakawardane, Judge of the Supreme Court, Sri Lanka.  The remarks of felicitation were offered by Ms. Shireen Arshad Khan, Chairperson AHAN & former MNA (PML-N), Ms. Saeeda Nazar, Facilitator, Pakistan Women Entrepreneurs Affairs  and  Ms. Hina Mansab Khan, Vice Chairperson SCWEC (elect).