Mr Prime Minister, Patron of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists and Chancellor PIDE, Minister for Planning and Development, Ministers, Past Presidents and Distinguished Members of the Society, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 24th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists. We are extremely grateful and honoured by the presence of the Prime Minister. On behalf of the members of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE), I would like to thank you, Sir, for having spared your precious time to grace this occasion. I would like also to especially thank our guests who have come from different parts of the country and from abroad to participate in the Conference. We are heartily pleased to see here today many students of Economics and other social sciences from different colleges and universities of Pakistan who are just as eager as regular members to understand our subject better. Let me join Dr Arif in especially welcoming Professor Yu Yongding, Professor John Mellor, Professor Siddiqur Rahman Osmani, and Dr Parvez Hasan, who will be delivering the Invited Lectures this year. At the outset, on behalf of all members of the PSDE, I would like to recognise the support and encouragement of the Prime Minister as Chairman of the Planning Commission to the initiative taken by the Deputy Chairman and his predecessor Mr Salman Faruqui to actively involve professional economists in Pakistan in the process of economic policy-making. The new Task Forces on critical economic concerns and the Advisory Panel of Economists to frame the short-run and medium-term policies by the Planning Commission are democracy’s gifts to the economists of Pakistan. Democracy encourages independent thinking, accommodates diverse viewpoints, and thus makes it possible to evolve a comprehensive policy for all.