PR ISLAMABAD - “It is critical that despite resurgence of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan must continue to support the peace process,” said Professor Anatol Lieven at a panel discussion organised by the Institute for Policy Reforms Tuesday. The panel discussion reviewed recent developments in South Asia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East.
Welcoming the participants, Humayun Akhtar Khan, Chairperson IPR, said that the purpose of the discussion is to take stock of recent developments in Pakistan’s neighbourhoodand to gain an idea of how events may likely unfold. He said that, of late, the region’s enduring concerns have become more conspicuous. He said that security in Afghanistan continues to be a concern.
At present, Pakistan has a real chance to galvanize its economy and enable sustained growth and development based on infrastructure investment from China. Full integration into China’s One Belt One Road holds great promise for the future of Pakistan’s economy. OBOR will make Pakistan a hub of regional connectivity. In order to do so, Pakistan must maintain internal stability and not allow further violence in the country. Already, Pakistan has taken effective measures. It was encouraging also to see that all parties in Pakistan have developed internal consensus behind this vital and central interest. These moves need to be strengthened.
Eminent Pakistan diplomats, Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and former Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar reiterated that recent developments in the region affected Pakistan. Qazi agreed that infrastructure investment under the CPEC was a valuable economic opportunity for Pakistan, if successfully implemented.
Khokhar said the CPEC presented a real opportunity to the country. However, the Chinese were reportedly concerned about implementation mechanisms in Pakistan. He said that internal security and governance in implementation were critical for the success of CPEC.