A NEW ECONOMIC BLOCK
Pakistan, China & Central Asia road link project
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
June 10 - 16, 2002
Peace and prosperity which are the most sought after goals of the human beings all over the world have been achieved wherever the people got to realize the significance of social and economic cohesion.
While the developed economies are enjoying the fruits of economic prosperity through close cooperation, confidence and harmony, the people in this region are experiencing all sorts of sufferings mainly due to absence of social and economic cohesion among the countries of this region.
The economic bloc of European Countries which the Eastern and Western European countries have succeeded to consolidate their resources for the benefit of their peoples, gives a lesson to those who desire to learn.
Recently, Almaty Summit was held with the sole purpose to develop cooperation and confidence among the member countries.
The peace loving people were pinning hopes on the expected meeting between President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpyee for de-escalating the war tension between India and Pakistan.
Despite the fact that the meeting between the two leaders did not take place yet the Almaty Conference may bring far-reaching benefits in the region especially in confidence building among the member countries which subsequently help promoting trade and economic relations in the region.
The Almaty Conference is likely to produce some positive results in the areas of economic and trade relations between Pakistan and the member countries.
Before Almaty Summit, Pakistan delegation led by President Musharraf held meetings with the leaders of the Central Asian countries and discussed ways and means to promote bilateral ties in the region.
One of the most significant developments was the desire of the member countries to promote interaction between the peoples of the member countries.
In order to achieve the target of promoting bilateral relations between the member countries the importance for construction of road links was acknowledged and it was agreed that road network will be developed in the region to get the desired results for socio-economic and trade goals.
The proposed plan for construction of road network will provide road-linkages between the Central Asian countries and Pakistan. It may be noted that China has already been linked with Pakistan through Sharah-e-Resham through Northern Areas of Pakistan.
The proposed road network between these friendly countries will not only enhance confidence and harmony between the people of these nations but certainly help paving the way for developing a strong economic bloc in this part of the world.
The CICA Summit recently concluded in Almaty also acknowledged the need for trade and economic cooperation among the member countries to bring prosperity and stability in Asia.
The economic and trade relations and ways and means to improve them were discussed at a meeting between Pakistan and Tajikistan where the President Pervez Musharraf had gone to attend the conference on "Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia".
The need to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries in hydro-electricity, communication, energy and trade sectors was emphasized by the two sides in the meeting.
The establishment of a network of roads, linking Central Asia with Pakistan through Afghanistan for access to the Indian Ocean was one of the most significant subjects discussed between the two countries.
During the meeting between President Musharraf and Tajikistan's Prime Minister Akil Aliclov, it was desired that Pakistan wishes to develop the road link through Afghanistan.
President Musharraf noted that world was moving forward very fast in all sectors of economy and there was a need to accept these challenges.
It was also agreed to revive joint ministerial commission to discuss economic issues, ways and means to move forward on various subjects.
There is no doubt that the road linkages plays important role in promotion of trade and economic social ties between the countries yet before construction of roads linkages another thing which more important is to develop the trust and confidence among the peoples of these states.
The recently concluded Almaty conference however realized the significance of confidence building among the nations hence it was on the top of the summit declaration.
The conference resolved to take necessary steps for the elaboration and implementation of measures aimed at enhancing cooperation and creating an atmosphere of peace, confidence and friendship.
Such measures should be in accordance with the principles of the UN charter, CICA, and international law. In doling so, the member countries will take into account specific features and characteristics in various regions in Asia and proceed on a gradual and voluntary basis.
President Musharraf, speaking about the Pakistan-Tajikistan relations said that ties between the two countries are bound through centuries old ties of history, faith, culture and traditions. The two countries hold indepth discussions covering the entire range of bilateral issues. They agreed to make joint efforts to expand and consolidate cooperation in the areas such as trade, tourism, transport and communication, education, industry and defence. The two countries also agreed to convene the inaugural session of the joint Economic Commission in September this year. Through this forum the two would be able to further strengthen the two-way economic cooperation.