ISLAMABAD: Pakistan truly stands at a historic juncture. The country’s strategic location, once a liability is now a bridge between Europe and Asia. Centre of economic power is shifting from the west to the east. Over the years Asia has become a leading player in the emerging economies of the world.
This was stated by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz. He said that regional connectivity in Asia now lies at the centre of the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which aims to connect Asia with Europe and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a central part of this network – is an all-inclusive economic corridor for the region.
National Security Advisor (NSA) Nasser Khan Janjua stated that Pakistan, by connecting 86 per cent (as 60 per cent of the world’s population lives in Asia while about 10 per cent lives in Europe and 16 per cent in Africa) of the people of the world, is a massive potential trade and industrial hub. He was speaking at the seminar on “Dynamics of Geo-Politics, Regional Security and Economic Connectivity” organised by National Security Division (NSD) in collaboration with the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad, which was attended by the Ambassadors of Central Asian Republics (CAR) in addition to other dignitaries. The NSA urged CARs to utilise the huge potential of Balochistan and to access the sea through Gwadar, which is the world’s largest deep sea port. He said that Balochistan is Pakistan’s face and the country will multiply the economy of the entire region.
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador Ali Alizada enunciated that the landscape of the world is changing dramatically and countries are changing their state policies swiftly in the wake of unfolding global crescendos. Peace is the only option to move towards sustainable future, he added. He said that Pakistan has always backed peace and stability in the region and Azerbaijan is grateful to Pakistan for their positive role in this regard.
Giving Turkey’s perspective, on the topic of the seminar, Professor Erhan Dogan from Marmara University, Istanbul, stated that Turkey has some regional calculations and some international. What China, USA and Russia envisage their role in other parts of the world definitely has a significant impact over Turkey’s equation with the global world, he added.
Concluding his speech, the Turkish professor said that Pakistan and Turkey have common cultural heritage and the people of Turkey have a great respect for Pakistan.
Kazakh Ambassador Barlybay Sadykov stated that confidence-building measures should remain on the top agenda in order to maintain global security and to ensure peace. He said that international terrorism is a common threat and requires a collective response. He further stated that the Afghan peace process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and the responsibility to assist Afghan peace process must be shared. Geopolitical and geo-economics of the region both offer opportunities and face threats. Geo-economics can press for the need of cooperation among nations, he added.
Gwadar is very important for Uzbekistan said Uzbek Ambassador Furqat A Sidiqov, as the country needs access to warm waters. Furthermore, stability in Afghanistan is pivotal for both CARs and Pakistan in this regard for strengthening economic connectivity of the region.
The Kyrgyz ambassador hoped that the planned railways link from Kashgar in China to Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan under CPEC, after completion, will connect Pakistan to the Kyrgyz Republic through rail network, leading to more economic opportunities.
In the search for optimal solutions to the accumulated problems of the region, Tajik Ambassador Sherali Jononov was of the view that the response to the global and regional challenges requires broad dialogue and concerted efforts of the entire international community.
Speaking on the common challenges faced by the region, Lt Gen (r) Asif Yasin stated that good governance and governance alone would lead to internal stability, fight against terrorism and fight against poverty in the region. He also said that Pakistan and Afghanistan have common stakes. Trans-Afghanistan and trans-Pakistan are the contemporary phenomena that will spell out the future relationship between the two, he added.
Lt Gen (r) Talat Masood, in his concluding remarks as the chair and moderator of the seminar, said that Pakistan’s biggest challenge is to ensure that security challenges are not solved by military means but development.