An exclusive dinner reception was hosted by Chairman Nishat Group, Mian Mohammad Mansha, for President Dr Arif Alvi, First Lady Mrs Samina Alvi and Lahore-based business families. On the occasion, businessmen met the president and exchanged views on the prevailing business environment. Tariq Saigol, Chairman Kohinoor Group, Mr. Naseem Saigol, Chairman Pak Elektron Limited, Mr. Tariq Rafi, Chairman Siddiqsons Group, Mr. Anjum Nisar, President FPCCI, Mr. Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Syed Yawar Ali, Chairman Nestle Pakistan, Mr. Zaka Ashraf, Chairman Ashraf Group,Mr. Khawar Rafique, Chief Executive Royal Fans, Mr. Shahid Abdullah, Director Sapphire Group, Mr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and other prominent personalities from Lahore and their families also participated in the event. Speaking at the occasion, Chairman Nishat Group, Mian Mohammad Mansha, who led the delegation, said, “We acknowledge the Government’s successes in improving the security situation and in bringing back PSL. Prospects of peace in Afghanistan are also encouraging as it will improve security and economic activity in the region and allow enhancement of cross border trade between Pakistan, Afghanistan and into Central Asia. This also bodes well for the business communities of both countries and it holds the promise of economic development and prosperity for the people.”Mansha added, “Due to the slowdown in business and economic activity in the country, people are losing jobs on account of retrenchments which need to be addressed effectively. Inefficient State Owned Enterprises are generating losses which have to be offset with tax money, which could otherwise be spent on the welfare of people. The government needs to privatize these entities to avoid further losses to the national exchequer.” Mansha further added, “The business community are major stakeholders and thus the government needs to be in constant dialogue with us so we can synergize efforts and attain economic progress. The business community also needs to be provided an enabling environment, one that is free from harassment, intimidation and bureaucratic bottlenecks, so that they can concentrate and dedicate all efforts towards generating economic activity without which, neither growth can be achieved nor jobs can be created for our youth.”Speaking at the dinner reception, President Dr Arif Alvi said, “We are cognizant of the fact that Pakistan is undergoing economic difficulties, but there are clear positive signals that the worst is over and our economy and indeed our society are in the process of recovery. The business community has rendered invaluable services in the development of Pakistan and we request you all for a little more patience while the government’s reform process takes root and demonstrates results. There is also a need to avoid cynicism and undue criticism of state institutions.” The President concluded by assuring the business community of full government support and said the government would continue to engage with the business community to improve the prevailing business environment.The Nishat Group of companies is one of the region’s leading and most diverse business groups with commercial interests in the finance, insurance, cement, textile, paper, power, dairy, hospitality, real estate and automobile sectors amongst others in Pakistan. The Group has played a significant role in the industrial development of Pakistan and is one of the largest private sector employers, tax payers and exporters of the country.