- Subscribe to PCF Networked Blog Daily Updates
- Subscribe to our Twitter / Google / Yahoo Daily Updates
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Wednesday contended that Pakistan would have a crucial role in India’s efforts to acquire energy from the Central Asian Republics, saying peace and stability are essential for the socio-economic development of the region. “India’s need for energy and trade with Central Asian Republics is largely dependent on Pakistan,” Ashraf said in his address at the inauguration of the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar in Karachi. “Peace and stability are essential for socio-economic development of the region. It is a matter of satisfaction that both Pakistan and India are moving forward in the right direction through the composite dialogue framework,” he said.
South Asia, which is home to one-fifth of the world population and blessed with immense natural resources, has the “potential to emerge as a leading and potent economic force”, he told a gathering that included diplomats, senior Pakistani and foreign military officials and representatives of armament firms from round the world. Ashraf spoke at length on foreign policy issues, including Pakistan’s ties with the US and China, as well as the challenges confronting his country. “Pakistan is confronted with complex challenges. The external and internal threats to Pakistan range from socio-economic to politico-military spectrum. We are confronted with extremism, militancy and intolerance in the society,” he said.
The world is in transition at a rapid pace and its ‘economic centre of gravity is gradually shifting to Asia, more specifically to Asia Pacific’, Ashraf remarked.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s relations with China were ‘time tested’ and could be further enhanced by focusing on trade and energy sectors, he said. Pakistan could benefit from China in defence collaboration, “offsetting the undeclared technological apartheid”, he said. Ashraf said that Pakistan had successfully converted into opportunities the various internal and external threats, ranging from socio-economic to politico-military spectrum.
The Prime Minister particularly referred to the recent events that had created space for reviewing terms of Pak-US engagement, which, he said, were more of an opportunity than a challenge. This, he said, was coupled with the Russian aspiration to increase influence and diversify trade providing ideal opportunity to Pakistan in expansion of its relations with Russia on broader basis. Ashraf said the Afghan trade was already done through Pakistan and this engagement was likely to continue. Besides potential for improvement in its relations with Iran, he said that Pakistan could also benefit from Turkey and Malaysia’s rise as the new centre of economic influence.
“Room for enhancement of relations in trade and energy sectors with China exists and Pakistan can provide link between Gwadar and Xinjiang,” he said.
The Prime Minister, however, acknowledged that peace and stability were the major requirements for any nation that seeks economic prosperity and social justice. He said that the country ought to help itself by capitalising on internal opportunities as low tax to GDP ratio that offers potential for improving tax revenue. “With approximately 100 million population under 30 years of age, Pakistan is a Work Time Resource Rich country and this potential has to be harnessed,” he said.
Moreover, he said Pakistan’s defence force provided the country the strength needed for stability while its functional democracy and state institutions were also of meaningful significance. Ashraf reiterated that since the world’s economic centre of gravity was shifting to Asia, specifically to Asia Pacific, it was, therefore, imperative for Pakistan to avail all opportunities. IDEAS, he said, was one such, extremely crucial, attempt to not only exhibit country’s defence and technological capacities but also to facilitate international collaborations and joint ventures.
Pakistan Cyber Force