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Nawaz sees poverty-free Asia by 2050

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday called upon the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) to play an effective role in bringing the Asian countries closer besides making joint efforts for finding a long-lasting solution to the problems faced by the Asian region. Speaking at the 6th plenary session of APA, the premier underlined the need for making joint efforts to cope with economic, law and order, energy and environmental challenges confronting them.

If the Asian countries succeed in properly utilising their resources, maintaining their economic growth‚ he added, they can overcome poverty by 2050. Pakistan having geo-strategic location in the region is keen to work with the neighbouring countries to bolster trade and economic activities, he added.

Referring to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which had stated that Asia's per capita income could rise six-fold in purchasing power parity terms to reach European level by 2050, he said that by the same year Asia could double its share of the global GDP.

"If all goes well and Asia manages its growth properly and with equity, there will be no poor Asian countries by 2050," he contended. He said that 3 billion people of the region can benefit from the strategic location of Pakistan, adding that Pakistan wants good relations with its neighbours including India and Afghanistan and desires peace‚ security and stability in the region for ensuring speedy economic growth and welfare of people.

Sharif said that Pakistan is also working on various projects to overcome energy crisis in the region including Pak-Iran gas pipeline and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline and Central Asia-South Asia 1000 power import project.

The premier stated that people of Pakistan want to bring peace not only in the region but also in world which can guarantee prosperity of the whole world. He said with peaceful democratic power transition‚ Pakistan is now heading towards revival of its economy through a strong parliament.

He said we have been successful to build consensus for fighting terrorism through parliament. "The government is taking concrete measures for revival of economy and overcoming energy crisis...we're determined to resolve the problems being faced by people in minimum possible time," he maintained.

Nawaz said Pakistan had tried to turn a new page with all its neighbours and was prepared to look at the larger picture, adding that the country had reached out to both Afghanistan and India. He said in an Asian century, an opportunity would be witnessed for South Asia to join the other Asian engines such as China and the Asean.

"While Pakistan may succeed at its own and through its own endeavours, the success will be quicker, greater, and more sustainable if it is underwritten by the entire region moving together," he added.

He expressed satisfaction over the commonalties in APA and Pakistan's ideals concerning strengthening democracy, peace, development, regional co-operation, security and well-being of the people across the Asian continent.

The Prime Minister said the theme for this Assembly was particularly relevant - Asian Century: co-operation in economy, energy and the environment. He said the theme had a particular resonance for Pakistan.

He said Pakistan underwent a historic political transition earlier this year and one popularly elected government succeeded another popularly elected government in free, fair and transparent elections.

He said the country's parliament had emerged ever stronger on account of this transition and added that "We rejoice that this parliament is today playing host to representatives of its sister parliaments from across Asia."

Nawaz said the parliament was now working to address the challenges confronting the country and had forged a national consensus on how best to address the threat of terrorism and to rejuvenate the economy.

He said achieving this goal was essentially tied to the urgent need to address the crippling energy crisis and the government was striving on war-footing to combat the energy deficiency, attract foreign investment, mobilise domestic resource and jump-start economic growth. He said there was an important dimension of sharing notes on issues specific to the working of legislatures, agenda setting, budget-making, drafting and even harmonising legislation, committee structures and mandates. He said an equally important aspect of this interaction was bringing the peoples of the member countries closer.

He said parliamentary meetings and exchanges are among the best avenues available to promote trust and understanding among countries and peoples. The parliamentarians have a finger on the pulse of their constituents and they know the priorities of their voters, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013