. .

1_popup_home.gif (1391 bytes)

Politics & Policy
CE's visit to Cuba, Egypt and Libya


For the record
Dr. M. Jalaluddin
Science & Technology
New inventions
Netscape 6 unleashed
Performance appraisal — a motivational tool
Public Relations: the Myths, Misconceptions & Mystique
Politics & Policy
CE's visit to Cuba, Egypt and Libya
The devolution of power
Special Report
Pakistan Energy Conference
The Last Page
" The Nasdaq Phenomenon"

The main thrust of these visits was diversification of economic ties

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi, Islamabad
Apr 24 - 30, 2000


The Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf, it appears, has launched a multipurpose diplomatic offensive. During the last 4 weeks, after President Clinton's visit to Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf has visited right foreign countries including G77 summit at Havana and met their leaders, businessmen looking for potential investors and overseas Pakistanis to inform them about the latest conditions in Pakistan and arousing their patriotism to invest their surplus money in Pakistan.

At government level various agreements were signed to promote trade and bilateral relation. At G77 summit in Cuba the Chief Executive got a chance to meet leaders from a number of countries besides participating in a crucial meeting of the less developed countries in the south to evolve a common strategy to deal with highly developed countries of the North. Gen. Musharraf took full advantage of the opportunity to highlight Pakistan's concerns and problems with the world around. It certainly dispelled the impression of Pakistan being isolated in the world.

During the first leg of his tour, the Chief Executive visited Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. The main thrust of these visits was diversification of economic ties, meeting overseas Pakistanis and meeting potential investors who could possibly be attracted to the privatization programme being launched by this government in a big way from this month.

Pakistan and Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of Pakistan-Indonesia Consultative Forum. The MoU signed during the Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf's visit to Jakarta is aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and technology, education and culture, and to coordinate positions on international and regional issues of mutual concern. This welcome development is a step forward towards realisation of the objectives of CE's East Asian tour—to forge economic and political ties with a region that has achieved an enviable position in economic development.

Diversification of trade and economic ties is of paramount importance if a country wishes to achieve unhindered growth and maintain its political sovereignty. They say that the power of the purse strings should not be underestimated. As a consequence of its too much reliance on Western aid, Pakistan has reached at a stage where it finds it almost impossible to resist donor countries' and institution's interference not only in economic policy-making but political sphere as well. Knowing fully well that the dollar is mightier than the sword if waved the right way, Western countries and their tools—World Bank and IMF do not miss even a single opportunity to dictate their terms and make Pakistan accept sometimes bitter and shameful conditions that add to the miseries of the common man. Indonesia too has gone through a similar rather more bitter experience. At a time when the Asian model was being lauded throughout the world, Indonesia enjoyed economic expansion on an impressive scale: growth climbed by seven per cent a year but then came the manipulated crisis of 1997-98 that led to a calamitous decline in its economic growth. This was not the end, leverage of the dollar was used to make debt-trapped Indonesia first accept peacekeepers in East Timor and ultimately grant independence to the Island.

The G-77 summit, held at the Cuban capital Havana, ended with the focus on improving South-South cooperation and enhanced economic and trade relations with Northern hemisphere countries. In its declaration, the summit also set concrete goals that could lead to economic growth in the world's poorest nations. In their closing speeches Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo called for a unified front to deal with the industrialised countries. Castro termed the vast gulf between rich and poor nations as a 'new apartheid' that condemns four billion people to live in poverty. The Nigerian President, who is also G-77 chief, termed the summit as a defining moment in our movement's history.

Though the 20th century saw an end to colonialism and a predominant majority of the subjugated nations were freed from foreign yoke, yet the rich and the mighty intensely sought economic domination of the poor countries in recant decades to keep the third world deprived and enslaved. The affluent and influential countries shrewdly conceived and established financial institutions for the furtherance of their designs and thus imposed international neocolonialism by controlling the Third World's economy. The IMF and the World Bank have earned notoriety of destroying the economies of the developing nations, under the garb of financial assistance. The concept of globalisation has also been conceived by the West to dominate the trade potentials of the developing world. In this background, the G-77 summit's decision to focus on improving the South-South cooperation and to give an impetus to the trade and economic relations with the North represents a much desired response to the international economic realities. A cursory look at the world scenario reveals a total unity, comprehensive understanding and common objectives in the US-Europe camp, while disunity, discord and hostility prevail in the Third World countries, the South-South cooperation is, therefore, imperative for the economic survival of the Third World in the face of industrialised countries' intriguing plan to economically subjugate the developing countries. Through the IMF and the World Bank. Interestingly, serious demonstrations were organised against the IMF and the World Bank in Washington by thousands of people accusing the duo of aggravating poverty in the world through their negative policies. The Seattle and Washington protest demonstrations, in fact, are the manifestation of universal hatred against these instruments of neocolonialism.

The Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf has held useful talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on bilateral, regional and international issues in Cairo. Gen. Musharraf briefed the Egyptian-President about Pakistan's efforts to establish durable peace in South Asia including his offers to India for resumption of dialogue for the resolution of the core issue of Kashmir dispute, bedevilling indo-Pak relations over the past five decades. The talks also focused on bilateral ties with special emphasis on further strengthening the close ties between the two countries through enhanced economic cooperation. He also met top businessmen and industrialists of the region and apprised them of the ample opportunities for profitable investments in Pakistan.

Pakistan and Egypt enjoy excellent relations, which are rooted deep in shared faith and common values and are characterised by commonality in interests. It is, therefore, natural for the two nations to enhance their mutual cooperation and realise its full potential, particularly in the economic field. The Chief Executive's visit to Cairo is a manifestation of the fact that Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Egypt. It also represents Pakistan's thrust to further boost its relations with the Muslim countries. President Mubarak's role in furtherance of Middle East peace process has undoubtedly earned him international community's respect and approbation.