Statesí integration through economy
What Aziz has propounded is, in fact, a road map for economic prosperity and genuine and durable peace and tranquility in the otherwise highly volatile globe. Some of the enviable models of the concept of economic blocks including European Union and ASEAN bear testimony to the success of this approach as inter-dependencies created by these forums have helped a lot in bringing the member states both politically and economically closer and they are now increasingly behaving like powerful and cemented blocks in global politics. In our context, the formerly RCD and now Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and South Asian Association for Region Cooperation (SAARC) were conceived to realize this very objective but regrettably these could not make any worthwhile progress towards their stated goals because of lack of will and sincerity on the part of the states and due to hegemonic designs of some of the member states. Our region is at the centre of different conflicts and crises and we strongly believe that creation of inter-dependencies can help restore not only confidence but also resolve the ticklish issues, which would then lead to the path of peace and prosperity. Therefore, the leadership of both ECO and SAARC needs to take bold and visionary initiatives to transform the fate of the region. Same is true of state-to-state relations where inter-dependencies and connectivity could play a crucial role in normalization of their relations and promotion of trade and commercial ties. It was because of this that during his tenure as Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz has been strongly advocating for implementation of both IPI and TAPI gas pipeline projects on the plea that the dependencies so created would help bring the stakeholders closer. We hope that our policy-makers and rulers would pursue this approach in right earnest and implement not only these but similar other projects for regional integration.