Pakistan is a strong democratic nation this is evident from the fact that the economy has been improving by leaps and bounds and a lot of this is because the security concerns are being addressed meticulously. Both the civilian government and the armed forces are committed wholeheartedly to the defence of the nation; for only when the defence of a nation is strong does that nation then progress. The people of Pakistan are forging ahead with great verve and rapidity as after many years economic indicators are strong and internal strife is under control.

Pakistan once again celebrated “Youm-e-Takbeer” which is a most auspicious day as on this day Pakistan became a nuclear power. On May 28 1998 Pakistan became first Islamic and world’s 7th nuclear power; and because we are a nuclear power we have been able to sustain ourselves without any threat of war, have been able to maintain the balance of power in the region and have emerged as a leader in the comity of nations.

Pakistan has been fighting war against terror for many years now and has made its commitment to this war clear, as recent operations like Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fassad have proved. In this scenario the fact that the economy of Pakistan has actually improved is a testament to the determination of PML-N led government and their major success the CPEC. Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif recently attended One Belt One Road Forum (OBOR) in China where he assured Chinese President Xi Jinping that extensive efforts were being made for the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The May 14-15 forum was attended by 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries and was an opportunity for Pakistan to display its regional clout.

The OBOR forum was important for China to further their goals for global expansion and for this they turned to Pakistan for support. Pakistan and China signed six accords of cooperation in diverse fields. The worth of the accords is about $500 million. The MoUs add to $57 billion already pledged for the CPEC and further cement Pak-China relationship. The groundbreaking and signing of financial agreements has demonstrated that there is a strong will on both sides to implement the portfolio agreed upon under the CPEC framework as early as possible to help Pakistan meet its energy needs.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while speaking at the OBOR forum rightly said that peace and development went hand in hand, and nothing could pave the path to peace and security more than economic development achieved through regional collaboration. “It is time we transcend our differences, resolve conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy and leave a legacy of peace for future generations,” he said. This view of the Prime Minister is absolutely correct as development and defence of a nation are interrelated. The PML-N led government has focused on the development of the country not just in terms of economy but also in terms of infrastructure, security and communally.

If we look at the latest position the federal government has unveiled a Rs4.75 trillion budget outlay for 2017-18 of which Rs1.001 trillion allocation (federal) is for its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) which is markedly higher than previous budget so it shows the seriousness of the government. The infrastructure sector will get 67 percent of the PSDP budget. Rs411 billion will be allocated for transportation and communication, of which Rs320 billion will be allocated to national highways, Rs43 billion for railways, and Rs44 billion for other projects. The PML-N government wants Pakistan on the fast track to progress and for this purpose developmental work is necessary.

The business climate is considered positive and robust because of the rapidly expanding quality infrastructure and marked reduction in energy shortages. The successful closure of IMF’s program is a testament that Pakistan has done well on macroeconomic stability. This is further proved by The Economist terming Pakistan the fastest-growing Muslim economy. Another positive has been the announcement of Pakistan’s inclusion in Morgan Stanley’s Emerging Market Index from May 2017.

The newly released Economic Survey of Pakistan reconfirms that despite several internal and external challenges, the country’s GDP recorded decade’s highest growth of 5.3 percent during the fiscal year 2016-17. “The growth rate was just 3 percent in 2013, which has now risen to 5.3 percent and this growth is also being acknowledged at the world level,” Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said while launching Pakistan Economic Survey for the outgoing fiscal year 2016-17. He is positively correct for World Bank had forecast Pakistan´s GDP growth in fiscal year 2017 to climb to 5.2 percent, the highest expansion rate in nine years, boosted

by consumer confidence and fiscal reforms. Asian Development Bank also recently endorsed the growth projections for 2017 to 5.2 per cent. Next target set by the government is 6 percent GDP growth and hopefully we will achieve that too.

The government is committed to sustainable growth and ensuring development work continues apace. Poverty reduction, job creation and monetary empowerment for the people are on its agenda. The government knows that for a better economy, development and security must go hand in hand and to bring about such an outcome it is working on many avenues simultaneously; hopefully by next year we will see even greater prosperity and success.