ISLAMABAD – The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Friday welcomed Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan’s speech for nurturing cordial relations with neighboring countries including India, Afghanistan and Iran.
SCCI Senior Vice President (SVP) Iftikhar Ali Malikm, in a statement issued here expressed the hope that Imran could play constructive role to strengthen SAARC by bringing India and Pakistan close together which would be harbinger of prosperity and peace in the region.
He said the dream of progress and prosperity of region and development coupled with peace in the region could not be achieved till relations of Pakistan and India were free of mutual animosity and distrust.
Malik quoted Imran Khan as saying that, “Pakistan wants to establish good relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect,” and the imminent government led by PTI would chalk out comprehensive and long lasting strategies to nurture good relations with India, Iran and Afghanistan and come forward with a solid plan of integrating this region for boosting of trade to bring prosperity in the region.
“South Asia is one of the least economically integrated regions of the world. As a result intra-regional trade between the SAARC countries is less than five per cent while intra-regional trade between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries is about 35 per cent and EU countries is about 60 per cent,” Malik added.
Malik said Imran Khan was a celebrity and had sizeable fans both in India and Afghanistan due to his cricket career and he should use his charismatic personality for bringing the people of the neighbor countries closer. Our region possesses enormous resilience and capacity to transform its challenges into opportunities.
“We are convinced that South Asia has the vast potential to become a region of economic and social prosperity. However, this can only be possible if we are able to resolve the disputes amicably though result oriented parlays that afflict our region. Prudence demands that for the sake of our future generations we move towards durable peace and prosperity which requires the resolution of regional disputes,” he added.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said luckily PTI had a very good and innovative team consisting of experienced technocrats, economists as well as seasoned and polished politicians and he hoped that they would succeed to steer the country out from the quagmire of multiple economic issues.
He also urged the PTI leadership to work for removing distrust between US and Pakistan relationship.
He said the US administration instead of imposing restrictions on Pakistan should offer fruitful help to Pakistan for revival of its economy so that we can fight more efficiently against terrorism. For this purpose, he suggested the United States and Pakistan should expand cooperation on the 2013 Joint Action Plan on Trade and Investment as the United States remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment.
He said the United States was Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner adding it would be in the interest of both the countries to enhance their trade volume which had been hovering around $5 billion for the last five years.
Iftikhar Ali Malik further said all political parties should bury their hatchets and unclenched their fists as they cannot bring any positive change in the country by promoting politics of hatred. He said Pakistan was not in a position where it can afford political deterioration and economic disruption and what we need is the unity and a strong commitment so that we can restore our good image before the world.
“The choice is very clear for us as a country. Do we want to continue the mistakes of our past by perpetuating the game of political musical chairs that can only lead us to the path of self-destruction? Or we want to chart the path of political stability, peace and new opportunities that would help us climb up the economic ladder,” he concluded.