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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a great opportunity for Pakistan and the country was taking its benefits.

Addressing the 2021 Conclave titled: Peaceful and Prosperous South Asia held at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, the prime minister said that, as referred by a speaker that situation was heading towards Cold War blocs, Pakistan should make every effort to stop the Cold War blocs.

He said that Pakistan should not become part of any bloc because the world suffered a lot from the Cold War.

He said that Pakistan wants to bring the people together and it has tried to play a role during the standoff between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which was appreciated by both the countries. Pakistan wanted to bridge the differences between China and the US.

If there is competition in trade as it always has been between countries but it should not go beyond that as it was between the Soviet Union and the US and the European countries.

He said that Afghanistan is another worry for Pakistan as there was fear of a civil war as per intelligence agencies’ reports, in case, Taliban tried to conquer entire Afghanistan.

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He said that civil war in Afghanistan was a nightmare scenario for Pakistan.

He said that now there is a need to save Afghanistan from humanitarian crisis because their reserves have been frozen, which would impact the people of Afghanistan.

The prime minister said that Pakistan is trying to sensitise the world that whether they like Taliban or not the problem is about four Crore people of Afghanistan.

The premier said that there would be OIC conference of foreign ministers next week in this regard.

Unless there is realisation in the US that frozen account of Afghanistan by them would lead to humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

He said that peace in Afghanistan is important for Pakistan for connectively with the central Asian countries that wanted to use this route for trade.

He said that whenever any country tried to resolve the dispute or issue through war it led to miscalculation for two reasons that those make decisions to resolve the problem through war do not learn from history and secondly because they are arrogant about their weapons.

He said that their miscalculation that war would last for few weeks but it continues for decades. We should always try till last moment to resolve the issue through dialogue and there is only one issue, Kashmir dispute that has made the entire region a hostage.

He said that he tried to approach India and made a phone call but it was taken as Pakistan’s weakness and unfortunately, Pakistan’s interaction was not with an ordinary Indian government but the ideology of RSS.

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He said what was happening in India was not only unfortunate for Kashmiris but for India itself because this ideology was excluding a bulk of minorities of 50 to 60 Crore.

This has never happened in human history to exclude such a chunk of population and this would have severe repercussions even for the Indian society, he said, adding this ideology is not sustainable.

He said that when we marginalised people we also radicalize them.

The prime minister said that the country needed the most think tanks and referred to the Planning Commission in 1960 that led the country to growth and made the country a model for some countries.

The premier said that the regression or erosion of intellectual base was due to adoption of foreign thought. He said that there was no considered response from Pakistan after people from abroad started defining the country following 9/11.

The premier also spoke about climate change and his government’s efforts in this regard for taking measures to save the country from global warming.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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