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Business Recorder

Published Date: May 11, 2018

Economic bloc of future lies in Asia: Janjua

ational Security Adviser (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjua on Thursday said that future of the world is linked to Pakistan, adding that the economic bloc of this future lies in Asia. 
Janjua while addressing a seminar titled ‘Peace for Development,’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with National Security Division of Pakistan here at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services on Thursday, (PIPS) said that Pakistan would bring the world into the trade corridor. 
The NSA said that both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a shared future. “President Ashraf Ghani’s offer for peace is very good. This is the first time that such a thing happened; let’s all support this.” 
Speaking with regard to India, he said that Islamabad and New Delhi would have to think whether or not they are to remain adversaries forever. “We will forget the past and move forward,” Janjua said, adding that peace between Pakistan and India is synonymous to peace of the entire region. 
He said that India has been there in Pakistan’s security concerns, however, he urged that together they would have to find a way to peace. “Fighting is not a solution to everything,” the NSA added. 
He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan share a lot of opportunities and have common economic future which has the potential to connect to markets of Europe, Africa and rest of Asia. 
Both have the potential to become trade and economic hub of the world, nobody has ever invested in peace in the region and that Pakistan will support any effort of peace process, which would be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, he maintained. Peace is a dividend for both Afghanistan and Pakistan, the region and the world. The two countries being an economic hub will multiply the economies of the world, he added. 
Janjua said Afghanistan is heart of Asia region and if there is peace in the heart only then there would be prosperity and stability in the region. “Unfortunately, children of Afghanistan have seen nothing but war since 1979, whereas Pakistan, after Afghanistan, is the most affected country hit by instability and insurgencies,” he added. He said the people of Pakistan want to see Afghanistan as a peaceful, prosperous and stable country. 
He said CPEC is only half of the dream of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Afghanistan is next half of the dream by connecting whole central Asia and Europe. He said Pakistan is the only country that can multiply the regional economies; and Pakistan needs to work beyond CPEC and connect the whole world. Pakistan has successfully fought the insurgencies and militancy through Zarb-e-Azb and there is dire need to consolidate on this success, he added. 
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said the CPEC would remain a mere road and rail link unless there is peace on the borders especially on the borders with Afghanistan and India. He said peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in favor of the region. Role of China is of great importance amid environment of mistrust. China will soon become an economic common denominator in the region and China’s investment in the region would in turn bring more prosperity once peace prevails. 
Senior analyst Imtiaz Gul on the occasion said, “Until we engage with Afghanistan out of the present obsolete Planning Commission Regime and create a whole-of-government approach through single-window joint civil-military mechanism, dividends of peace will keep eluding us.” The civil and military bureaucracy shall have to prioritize economic and human development as the means to survival as a self-respecting nation instead of always looking beyond borders for help and sustenance. He said there is a need for smart solutions to deal with Afghanistan to bring about peace and stability in the region. 
Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan, said that unwillingness of the US to clearly tell its objectives in Afghanistan, lack of interest and commitment of incumbent government to peace initiatives (status quo) and inability of Afghan Taliban to become a political force are the three major obstacles to peace in Afghanistan. He said no country would gain as much as there is instability in Afghanistan; and no country would suffer as much as there is stability in the region. As long as there is presence of the US army, there cannot be peace in Afghanistan, he added. He said there should be a broad based multiethnic government in Afghanistan including Taliban, which is the only sure guaranty for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan must keep this factor into its foreign policy formulation. China’s role as mediator must be permanently supported and proposed by Islamabad, he added. 
Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar, Secretary National Security Division, said that bringing peace in Afghanistan is of paramount importance and priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The 17 years of war in Afghanistan caused billions of dollars as loss to the economy of Pakistan. He said Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process is of Pakistan’s priority. Overlapping regional connectivity cannot be achieved without peace in the Afghanistan, he added. 

Source: https://epaper.brecorder.com/2018/05/11/24-page/716276-news.html