Speakers highlight the opportunities and pitfalls at a seminar
organized by Management Association of Pakistan
Oct 29 - Nov 04, 2001
The current situation offer opportunities but there
is also a potential fallout. Only the GoP and people of Pakistan can
maximize the gains without jeopardizing sovereignty of the country. This
is not the first time that Pakistan got the opportunity to exploit the
international situation. The country has a long history of lost
opportunities. Can the nation make the best? To find a reply to this
each individual has to indulge in dispassionate due diligence.
Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) provided an
opportunity to its members to examine the situation and to find out the
ways to maximize the gains and potential threats. The topic was
"Emerging geopolitical situation and its implications on
Pakistan". The two key note speakers were, Dr. Hafeez Sheikh and
Major General (Retd) Ghulam Omer. Both the speakers are the specialists
in their own respective fields, economics and military strategy.
Dr. Hafeez started his discourse by reciting the four
points of General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan. These are
national interests: economic revival, safeguarding the strategic assets
and resolution of Kashmir issue alongwith minimizing the damage in
Afghanistan. He said, "The woes of opponents and supporters are not
too contradictory. Therefore, the best efforts must be made to encash
the opportunity to do what we have wishing to do in the past."
Referring to prevailing key issues, he was of the
opinion that most probably Pakistan had received the highest per capita
foreign aid, including 'military support' but the nation has a long list
of missed opportunities. Counting the negative impacts of September 11,
Dr. Hafeez referred to at least ten points. These include: lower export
orders, adverse impact on services sector, disruption in manufacturing
activities, delay in privatization and implementation of mega-size
projects, potential burden of Afghan refugees and further reduction in
already low foreign direct investment.
He was also very quick in mentioning the
opportunities as an outcome of the GoP's decision to join war against
terrorism. These are integration in main stream of comity of nations,
withdrawal of sanctions imposed in 1998, additional aid, grants and
loans, debt rescheduling plus some writeoffs, easing quota restrictions
and lowering of duties by the US and the European Union. If Pakistan is
able to get what has been promised and to use each dollar in most
prudent manner, Pakistan can emerge as a economically strong country.
Dr. Hafeez said, "Pakistan decided to act as a
front-line state in the war against terrorism only because it had been
worst hit by terrorism." He specifically referred to the killing of
Hakim Said and Shaukat Mirza.
Ghulam Omer tried to explain the fast changing
geopolitical situation in the region which was aimed at exploiting oil
and gas reserves of Central Asia. He also said, "By inflicting war
on Afghanistan, terrorism cannot be eradicated. All the countries have
to find and eliminate the root causes which breed terrorists."
Ghulam Omer also said that Talibans were perceived a
hurdle in implementing the policies for exploiting oil and gas reserves,
which has become a reason for establishing a broad-based government in
Afghanistan. This idea is fully supported by many nations.
In the question-answer session a lot of questions
were asked from Ghulam Omer. Though, he was upright in defending the GoP,
many of his replies prompted some questions which remained in the minds
Earlier, Masood Naqvi, President of MAP introduced
the topic and the speakers. At the end, Javid Iqbal, Vice President of
Association proposed vote of thanks.