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The Nation

Published Date: Feb 25, 2014

Pakistan wants stable Afghanistan, says Sartaj Aziz

Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Afghanistan,
Jan Kubis, called on the Adviser to the Prime Minister on National
Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, on Monday.
The discussions focussed on matters related to Afghanistan and Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.
The
Adviser underscored the importance Pakistan attached to a stable,
peaceful and united Afghanistan and wished the Afghan people well during
the security, political and economic transitions in 2014 and beyond.
The
Adviser underscored Pakistan’s resolve to support the international
community’s efforts for stability in Afghanistan. He reaffirmed
Pakistan’s steadfast support for an inclusive Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process.
The Adviser also
highlighted the positive developments in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations,
marked by frequent high-level exchanges and growing emphasis on
bilateral trade and economic agenda as well as regional cooperation.
Appreciating
UNAMA’s efforts, the Adviser underscored the importance of deeper
engagement of the United Nations and the international community in the
economic development and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
He further
emphasised that the international community should help create conducive
conditions for the early return of Afghan refugees from Pakistan and
their sustainable reintegration in Afghanistan.
Kubis recognised
Pakistan’s role in peace and stability in Afghanistan and the efforts
under way to build a positive relationship between Pakistan and
Afghanistan. He also highlighted UN’s supportive role in diverse sectors
in Afghanistan as per UNAMA’s mandate.
Kubis later called on
Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and exchanged views on
Afghanistan, growing Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral cooperation, and
regional process.
The Foreign Secretary lauded UN’s role and
highlighted Pakistan’s continuing commitment to support Afghanistan
through this crucial juncture and in the years to come.
Meanwhile,
Sartaj Aziz on Monday said that military action in North Waziristan
against Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is being considered, which does
not mean that talks with Taliban are discarded.
He informed that
consultation on action in North Waziristan is underway and political
leadership would be taken on board on any decision to be taken regarding
military action.
He further said that Federal Cabinet would take up
the issue of talks with Taliban on Tuesday (today), dialogue process is
not discarded yet.
The Prime Minister would take his Cabinet member into confidence over talks and would listen to their views in this regard.
Speaking
in seminar on Economic Policies for Inclusive and Sustainable
Development in South Asia, he made it clear that government would not
hold talks with Afghan Taliban. He further said that 23 FC soldiers were
killed in Afghanistan, which were kidnapped from Pakistan few years
back. The government has several time raise the issue of kidnapping of
FC men with Afghan government, he added.
Earlier, addressing the
seminar, Sartaj Aziz said expressed the need for fostering greater
regional cooperation in South Asia. He observed that while structural
reforms are needed in the domestic economy of Pakistan, there is also a
need for more open and inclusive policies so as to ensure sustained
growth.
Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and
Reforms said that a holistic and integrated approach to productive
economic sectors and their predicaments will be the government’s top
most priority.
He further said that a stable macroeconomic
environment supplemented by important structural reforms should sustain
economic growth, which ultimately should be led by the private sector of
Pakistan.
The reforms would focus on an integrated energy reform,
modernisation of infrastructure, indigenous resource mobilisation,
investments in human and social capital, and institutional reforms for
governance, he said.
The Minister also expressed the govt’s
willingness to expand regional cooperation with all the neighbouring
economies, including China, India and Afghanistan.
Abid Suleri,
Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
remarked that with the slowing down of economic growth in the Western
world as well as in China, the most important challenge for policy
makers in South Asia is to kick start a robust growth process and
sustain it in a manner that does not harm natural and human resources.
In this regards it is very important that the political leadership assumes a stronger coordination role, he said.
The
complex political economy requires deeper coordination between sectoral
policies such as agriculture and industrial policies. These sectoral
policies should then be syncronised with inclusive macroeconomic
policies including fiscal and trade policies, he added.
Earlier
during the day, Hafiz Pasha, Former Minister for Finance and Economic
Affairs expressed that South Asian economies now face an immediate need
for increase in regional trade, particularly in the context of declining
export markets in the global economy.
He was speaking at a meeting of experts on Economy of Tomorrow (EoT).
He
said that while the International Monetary Fund disbursed a huge amount
for the rescue of Greece, the multilateral agency allowed a much lesser
amount for Pakistan and that too with a number of stringent
conditionalities. Briefing about the EoT project, Philipp Kauppert,
Resident Director of the FES, said that the project seeks to focus on
how an inclusive and sustainable model for economic growth can be
adopted and implemented as global economic paradigms change.
Marc
Saxer from FES Thailand observed that the ideas of modern capitalism and
neo-liberal growth have now started to show signs of weakness and
cannot be counted on anymore. He said that there is now need for a new
growth paradigm that is environment-friendly, socially just, and ensures
resilient growth.
Hansjörg Herr, Professor at the Berlin School of
Economics and Law, introduced the participants to the idea of decent
capitalism, which dictates that markets should be embedded within
insitutions. Unregulated markets can have disastrous implications, as
experienced in the case of the European Monetary Union and the Global
Financial Crisis of 2008. While markets can spur economic growth, there
is need for better regulation so as to ensure socially inclusive
economies, he added.