Our Staff Reporter
Published Date: Dec 8, 2016
‘Extremism is growing due to wrong policies’
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is a security state where extremism is still growing due to the wrong policies of the state, said former senator and Awami National Party (ANP) leader Afrasiab Khattak on Wednesday.
Mr Khatttak was speaking at a session on the ‘Challenges of conflict and service delivery in South Asia’ on the second day of the 19th Sustainable Development Conference which was hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, where he stressed on the need for proper planning for ending extremism and terrorism in the country.
Pakistan’s debts are growing each year, he said and that state policies need to be corrected, he added.
ANP leader says proper planning needed to end extremism
Mr Khattak also accused the ruling elite of resisting the establishment of an effective local government system in the country as it does not suite the influential.
During a separate session on ‘Regional Economic Integration in South Asia and Central Asia’, Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said his country was the gateway for Pakistan and South Asia into Central Asia.
Asian Development Bank Chief Economist Guntur Sugiyatro said the China Pakistan Economic Border is a game changer for Pakistan but there are some issues which are hindering growth and cooperation including the energy crisis, low investment, weak infrastructure, low tax returns which is less than 10pc of the GDP and lack of experts and professionals in the relevant sectors.
Former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Majyid Aziz said the time has come for Pakistan to rethink its position with Saarc.
"Pakistan should realise the importance of looking forward to cooperation with countries other than China, such as Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and India among others," he said.
Other speakers also agreed that trade and transit should be improved first and further enhanced with India as well.
World Bank Regional Adviser Haroon Sharif said trade patterns are changing due to massive political shifts such as Brexit and the election of Trump as the US president.
“People need to think differently, promote leadership roles in the region and rise above the traditional narratives,” he added.
At a session on the future of Saarc, current challenges and the potential for peace, development and prosperity, former chief economist Dr Pervez Tahir and social activists Marvi Sirmed and Karamat Ali stressed on the need for intra-regional trade and said that Indian exports to Pakistan exceed Pakistani exports to India which has increased the trade deficit.
Speakers at a session on ‘Minorities in Pakistan’s Legal Framework’, agreed on the need for introducing religious studies in place of Islamic studies to promote interfaith harmony.