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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said Pakistan is poised to become the trade and transit hub for the extended region and the economic prosperity cannot be sustained without peace in neighbourhood.

The Prime Minister stated this at the inauguration of “Islamabad Security Dialogue,” organized by the National Security Division, which was also addressed by his Adviser on Commerce and Trade Abdul Razak Dawood, special assistant on National Security Division Moeed Yousuf and a number of former ambassadors and national security experts.

“Pakistan wishes for a political settlement in Afghanistan that can lead to sustainable peace. Peace in Afghanistan is the key to unlocking the connectivity potential of the region,” the Prime Minister said.

“That is why my vision for the region is peace,” he maintained, adding that India must commit to giving Kashmiris their right to self-determination as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions. I offered dialogue to India when we formed the government but unfortunately India took illegal actions on August 5, 2019,” Khan said.

He said Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and India and if a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue is found by giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination it would be beneficial for both countries. He said that India must take the first step and create an enabling environment for moving forward.

On economy, the Prime Minister said the dollar inflow “must be consistently greater than dollar outflow in order to expand our national resource pie and use these resources for human welfare and robust defence. “Deficit leads to weakening of the rupee, results in inflation and contributes to poverty,” he stated.

The premier said, under his government, the country has been able to fight a debilitating current account deficit, increase exports and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Unlike before, this government is undertaking dedicated climate security programmes, including the internationally renowned 10 billion Tree Tsunami Project, he said.

“Climate change poses one of the most serious problems for Pakistan in the coming decades and we are making strenuous efforts in ensuring the country is prepared for climate change. I am pleased to see it included in the Comprehensive Security Framework.,” he said.

Khan said his government has prioritized human welfare through Ehsaas and Panagah programmes. “We have administered the largest cash transfers in Pakistan’s history completely transparently” he said adding that the government has successfully managed the Covid pandemic while protecting the poor. “Even the world recognised our success,” he said.

Pakistan, Prime Minister Khan said, is pursuing a national vision focusing on economic prosperity and human welfare. “The security requires that we make the common citizens of Pakistan safe, secure and provide them necessities of life. To ensure a truly secure country, we must make the common citizens of Pakistan secure. National Security today includes many aspects that have been ignored in previous decades, including climate security, food security and economic prosperity,” he added.

He lauded the efforts of the military, intelligence and civilian law enforcement agencies for playing a monumental role in the fight against terrorism.

On the occasion, the PM launched the National Security Division’s Advisory Portal connecting over 100 think-tanks and university departments with policy makers across Pakistan.

The prime minister was introduced to the New Comprehensive Security Framework (CSF) which is based on the three pillars of military, economic and human security with economic progress at the core.

He said that Pakistan’s economic security lens prioritizes connectivity, domestic and regional peace, and development partnerships with the world.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Dr Moeed Yousuf said the Advisory Portal would make policy making more inclusive by allowing think tanks and universities to provide policy recommendations on national security directly to National Security Division (NSD).

He said that in the absence of resources, national security is a challenge, adding that the economic safety is the centre of the country’s comprehensive security framework. He said that the main focus is on transit, development and regional peace, adding that vision of the current government is to benefit from the country’s geo-economic location. “We stand for peace in the region for economic development,” Yousuf stated, adding that Pakistan wants to be the center of economic activities for the world.

Speaking at a session under “comprehensive national security” about the future prospects of Pakistan-US relations under Joe Biden administration, former US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter maintained that Pakistan was no more on the priority list.

He said that Pakistan needs to redefine itself and progress towards the modernized economy where it is not seen from the microscope because of what is happening in Afghanistan.

He pointed out that Pakistan has already “missed a number of opportunities” and now the Washington is looking differently towards Islamabad. According to him, American would not give that special focus which was once given to Pakistan during Musharraf era.

Asked whether Biden administration could play any role to engage Pakistan and India, the former US ambassador stated that he was not optimistic that the US can engage on Kashmir.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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