Published Date: May 11, 2018
National Security Advisor Lieutenant General (retired) Nasser Khan Janjua on Thursday said Pakistan and Afghanistan shared 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,” he said while speaking at a special seminar titled ‘Peace — a dividend for development and stability in Afghanistan’, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with the National Security Division of Pakistan here at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, (PIPS).
He said nobody ever invested in peace in the region and that Pakistan would support any effort of peace process, which would be Afghan-lead and Afghan-owned.
“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 said.
The lieutenant general (retired) said Afghanistan was heart of Asia and if there was 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 wanted to see Afghanistan as peaceful, prosperous and stable country.
The NSA said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was only half of the dream of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Afghanistan was next half of the dream by connecting whole central Asia and Europe.
He said Pakistan was the only country that could multiply the regional economies; and Pakistan needed 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.
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Speaking earlier, Executive Director SDPI Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said CPEC would remain a mere road and rail link unless there was peace on the borders especially on the borders with Afghanistan and India. He said peaceful and stable Afghanistan was 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,” he said.
Senior Analyst Imtiaz Gul 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 self-respecting nation instead of always looking beyond borders for help and sustenance,” he said.
He said there was a need for smart solutions to deal with Afghanistan to bring about peace and stability in the region.
Former Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mehmund said 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 were the three major obstacles to peace in Afghanistan.
“As long as there is presence of the US army, there cannot be peace in Afghanistan,” he added. He said a broad based multiethnic government in Afghanistan including Taliban can only guaranty peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Syed Iftikhar Hussain Babar, Secretary National Security Division, said to bring peace in Afghanistan is of paramount importance and priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
He said Afghan led and Afghan owned peace process is of Pakistan’s priority. Overlapping regional connectivity cannot be achieved and successful without peace in the Afghanistan, he added.