The former Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Ishrat Husain has said the current economic difficulties in his country starting from 2007 have arisen due to a variety of internal factors and policy and management lapses. Although, the constraints are formidable, however opportunities do exist both domestically as well as externally whereby this goal can be attained. But this would require some tough political decisions, better governance, peace and security in the country, and shift from dependence on foreign aid to external trade and investment. Dr. Ishrat who is now Dean in Pakistans most prestigious institution, the IBA expressed these views while addressing a seminar on Pakistan-China Relations in the 21st Century, organized by Pakistan Embassy here this week. Pakistan has to shift its orientation from the West to the East in its foreign economic relations to align and benefit from the changes in the global economic balance of Power, Dr. Ishrat said while addressing on the topic Pakistans Economic Prospects: Challenges and Opportunities. Eleven speakers in all spoke at the seminar. They included Professor Zhang Guihong from Fudan University, Professor Chen Jidong from Sichuan University, Fazl-ur-Rahman from the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, Professor Wen Fude from Sichuan University, Rong Ying from the China Institute of International Studies, Professor Zhang Li from Sichuan University, Hua Han from Peking University, Ye Hailin from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Dai Jian from the Foundation for International Strategic Studies. Dr. Ishrat said that the stabilization program introduced in November 2008 with the assistance of the IMF is on track. But the main challenge facing the country is how to resume the high growth trajectory that Pakistan had achieved between 2002-2007. Elaborating, Dr. Ishrat Husain said that for the last 16 months Pakistan has successfully pursued a macro-economic stabilization program with the assistance of the IMF. The Government has taken some tough decisions such as curtailing many of the untargeted subsidies and introduced social safety net for the poor in form of a Cash transfer scheme. The results that were envisaged a reduction in current and fiscal deficits, decline in government borrowing from the Central Bank,bringing inflation down, accumulating foreign exchange reserves, stopping flight of capital and maintaining a realistic exchange rate have more or less been achieved. Going ahead Pakistans main imperative today, Dr. Ishrat said is how to resume the journey to high growth trajectory that was disrupted three years ago. We face at least eight challenges that have to be overcome in order to resume this journey. The challenges are: Low Domestic Savings, Low Export Growth,Fiscal Deficits Are High, Lagging Social Indicators, Energy and Water Shortages, Governance and Implementation Weaknesses, Political Stability and Law and Order / Security, Dr. Ishrat said that a lot has been written and talked about that how can we overcome these challenges and problem, but here he will focus on only a few action points and they are: Increase Domestic Resource Mobilization, Expand the Share in the World Trade, Building of Human Capital, Use of Technology, Young Labor Force, Devolution and Decentralization and Income Distribution. He said that as a student of the Chinese economy for the last 30 years he is great admirer of the people and leadership of this country for the unparalleled success they have achieved. Very few countries in history have been able to transform their economies on a scale and at a speed that has been exhibited by China, said Dr. Ishrat Husain and added I wish my own country Pakistan could learn a few lessons from this great country and apply some of those for its own development. Ambassador Masood Khan, of Pakistan, in his opening remarks, said that Pakistan-China relations were strong and resilient thanks to the wisdom and foresight of our leaders and skilful management of these relations over the decades. He spoke on the dividends yielded by the relationship including soft power, strategic partnership growing economic relations and people-to-people contact. He stressed the importance of the role of the young generation of both countries in carrying this unique friendship to new heights.