Once again, we turn a bit more toward the east to talk economics. In his recent speech at the Boao conference in Hainan province of China, Premier Nawaz Sharif played his cards right on the need to revive the Silk Road as it would prove to be essential in enhancing the economic growth and prosperity of the region. It is undeniable that Pakistan would profit from the focus and improvement of the Silk Road as a country situated on the southern edge of the new Silk Road. It is after all the golden road for China to reach the warm waters of the Arabian sea and Persian Gulf; quite literally the golden door.

In addition to proving to be beneficial for China, the new Silk Road carries the solid potential to uplift the living conditions of thousands of Pakistanis suffering endemic poverty by receiving the opportunity to opt for alternative livelihoods. Not just that, it also brings forth the establishment of robust infrastructure, increased and stable energy supply and improved governance. For a country that endures frequent and maddening electricity shortcuts and is on the verge of an energy failure, we could do mighty well with the help of the new Silk Road – that is, if the Boao conference doesn’t prove to be yet another lip service round.

Given our geographic location, Pakistan enjoys the position of a three-pronged economic corridor between China, Central Asia and the Middle East. The policy for the mutually beneficial road builds upon several key elements: The introduction of regulations on movement of humans and merchandize, taxes on policies as well as tariff and non-tariff barriers, a regional infrastructure for strong connectivity between transport networks, convertibility of currencies and uniformity in banking sectors. In other words, it could change lives.

But this lofty placement on the maps requires Pakistan to show more responsibility toward bilateral cooperation while maintaining stability within the borders or else all become redundant, and that leads us to our very own predicament: National security. Routes don’t stand on their own; they require safe labor in an environment where security hiccups are not the norm. This is Pakistan, after all. Until and unless the incumbent government and military establishment find a cohesive and singular strategy that focuses on eliminating miscreants planting terrorism in the country, economic prospects such as the new Silk Road along with others will unfortunately fall on the back burner.