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Politics & Policy


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Politics & Policy

Emerging geopolitical situation and its implications

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 of audience.

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.