Special Report By: Hilal Desk
ISPR, in collaboration with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) held a day long seminar on “Interplay of Economy and Security” in Karachi on October 11, 2017.
COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa was the key note speaker while eminent speakers who addressed the seminar included Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Dr. Ashfaq Hasan, Dr. Farrukh Saleem, Dr. Aynul Hasan, Dr. Salman Shah, and Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General, Frontier Works Organization. A large number of people from the business community attended the seminar.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed while speaking at the seminar said that there should be zero tolerance for corruption and ‘crafting a new narrative is the way forward and we need to take a collective approach’.
National security today, is a wide-ranging subject. Leaders across the world understand clearly that security is the product of an interplay of factors that encompass the political, economic, military, social, human and environmental facets. That makes security a very complex issue.
• We need a comprehensive effort to pursue National Action Plan and remove vulnerabilities well before they turn into threats. Many of the planned measures, if implemented timely, will contribute directly to the economic and even political stability of the country. Police and judicial reforms are obvious examples. Madrassah reforms are also vital. We cannot afford to leave a large segment of our youth with limited options.
• Today, Pakistan is a strategically challenged state. External actors are attempting to assert control and dictate our security priorities that have strong linkages with our economic future.
• CPEC is the future of our people, a vital national interest on which we will never compromise, regardless of the loudness of opposing voices. It is also an example of regional cooperation and a break from politics of confrontation – we want all to benefit from this project.
• Our region will sink or sail together – that is how it has played out across the world.
• I want to use this opportunity to earnestly convey to our neighbours to the East and to the West that our destinies are inextricably linked.
• We have to ensure that Balochistan, Interior Sindh, FATA, Southern Punjab and Gilgit-Baltistan also join us on the trajectory of growth and then move forward. It is with this integrated approach, that we will fulfil the vision of Quaid.
In today’s world, security does not come cheap. It is dependent upon economic prowess. It is here that our entrepreneurs must contribute by producing and exporting more.
Excerpts from COAS’ speech at the seminar,
October 11, 2017.
Dr. Ashfaq Hassan, while speaking on CPEC said that, ‘leadership, policy and reforms will determine the size of the benefits Pakistan will reap from the CPEC. China wants to relocate its industries in Pakistan’. He further said that serious efforts were required for the betterment of our higher education. He was critical on the lack of seriousness to share details of CPEC with public or at least the stakeholders. He also rejected apprehensions of China becoming East India Company and claims of CPEC passing through disputed territory referring to the history of KKH and Mangla Dam.
Dr. Farrukh Saleem talked about threats to economic security within national security matrix and highlighted the threats to economic security. He concluded with help of data that Pakistan needs to focus on economic growth while capitalizing on improved security environment and said that, ‘Pakistan has everything, the only thing we lack is leadership’.
Dr. Aynul Hassan while talking on Asia's transition into the 21st century presented a comparison of Pakistan's economy with rest of the Asian countries. He also discussed the important role played by traditional economic theories in the economic well-being of countries and said that ‘social sector investment is a long term and continuous proposition’.
Dr. Salman Shah while talking on the importance of CPEC and making Pakistan a global powerhouse said that ‘an economic corridor generally connects regional economic centers in the most efficient and convenient manner. CPEC will create economic and trade connectivity within Pakistan’. He said that ‘software of CPEC is more important than hardware’. ‘China is now the world's largest economy and can prove to be a big source of investment capital, technology and know-how for Pakistan’s economic progress, and we should learn from China how to manage and maintain economy’ he added.
Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal, Director General Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) highlighted the geo-strategic and geo-economic significance of CPEC and Gwadar Port, which is the cornerstone of the whole concept. He said, ‘Pakistan is blessed with precious minerals and coal resources and we must exploit this potential. It is the first time that we kept Khunjerab Pass open during last winters to keep the CPEC functional’. He also said, ‘FWO has also undertaken a project in collaboration with the Pakistan Railways to improve the railway infrastructure and the most important among them is dedicated freight corridor along ML-2’. ‘FWO is also planning oil refinery in KP in collaboration with the KP government. A project for cement manufacturing plant of 5000 MT per day is also being planned’ he shared with the audience.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Former Governer of State Bank of Pakistan delivered a talk on "Economy of Pakistan: Past and Future". He discussed three possible scenarios which are optimistic, muddling through and pessimistic. He highlighted the wastage of civil resources and said that ‘anything new is glamorous and attractive but poor maintenance and indifference to exercising the existing policies brings lots of losses to the country’. He also mentioned that ‘CPEC is a good strategic option for progress’.
Mr. Zubair Tufail, chairman of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry highlighted the role of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce in the economy of Pakistan. He said, ‘if we want to be economically strong, we should follow the footsteps of China. Private sector, by providing jobs, can play very vital role for the strong economic position of the country’. He also said, ‘we must also allow the third world countries to invest in Pakistan. We should ask China to open more markets for Pakistan and lauded the role of Pakistan Army and Sindh Rangers for eradicating the menace of terrorism across the country’.