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D-8 summit: seeking regional support

November 29, 2012

THE D-8 summit recently ended in Islamabad with the signing of a D-8 Declaration which lays stress on joint efforts in the promotion and enhancement of socioeconomic development, energy security, peace and democracy among the member-states.

The developing eight Muslim countries also reiterated their resolve to enhance their share in global trade by 15 per cent by 2018. Besides this, they pledged to work jointly to confront common challenges, especially achieving food security, mitigating the impact of natural disasters and countering all forms of extremism which undermine economic progress and adversely affect people’s livelihood.

Undoubtedly, this can be called a historic moment. However, the promises made are high and the most crucial phase of implementation of these pledges into reality is yet to be seen.

As a matter of fact the history of many supra-national groupings, of which Pakistan is a member, shows that most of them are high in rhetoric but low in substance.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are glaring examples. These two groups have done little that can be considered a step towards greater economic and social cooperation among member-states.

The same is the case with the D-8 grouping, established 15 years ago. It has done nothing except holding periodic conferences, though the member-states are rich in human and material resources and represent about 13 per cent of the world population.

In today’s world the regional integration and economic cooperation have far greater importance. It is through cooperation that the nations will derive greater success.

It is time leaders of the D-8 group directed their energies towards planning and cooperation for the sake of respect, dignity and economic prosperity.

It could also increase their participation in decision-making at the international level. Moreover, militancy is another front which could bind D-8 countries in an endeavour to act more decisively to tackle the militant threat.