THE loss of Chinese and Pakistani nationals is tragic. Based on the resolve shown by both countries including news of telephone calls and investigation team, it is hoped that the case will be solved and appropriate steps will be taken to avoid them in future.
However, due to the emerging geo-political situation, Islamabad needs to adopt a comprehensive strategy to deal with its core objectives including economy, political challenges and blocking India.
There is a lot of aspects of Afghan peace process. Pakistan should welcome a compromise government in Afghanistan and work with it. The statements on women education, right to work, individual freedom, zero tolerance for the use of Afghan soil against others and FDI permission are welcome.
Islamabad should aggressively coordinate with concerned to keep refugees as IDP on Afghan side of border for Pakistan’s security and their early resettlement.
Pakistan can achieve its core objectives without entangling in Afghan situation. The Pak-Afghan border fence will help secure its western border. It can be further improved online of China’s Rulli-Myanmar fence having AI technology, cameras and warning sensors.
Both countries should use international laws to control borders, immigration and smuggling with special focus on weapons, drugs and money laundering. The strategic objective is to destroy Pakistan’s economy in the region.
Pakistan has strong regional connectivity but Central and South Asia Connectivity it is being used to give India access to 5 CARS. Parliament should scrap it to protect its economy from two exporting giants flooding our markets with cheap goods.
Pakistan can use Afghan Wakhan corridor for additional land access to CARS from Chitral to Khorough (Tajikistan) to bypass political uncertainty. Pakistan has CPEC already.
Pakistan should scrap new AF-Pak agreement as economic redline. By restoring old Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement, Islamabad can: (a) Fulfil international obligation of giving land access to Afghanistan.
(b) Close backdoors of foreign interference in the region. (c) Block India from accessing CARS through Pakistan to protect its economy, industry and jobs. (d) Deny an alternate route to India to bypass China to strengthen its economy in exchange for being part of military buildup against the region. There is need for Pakistan first deals.
Under America first, Trump scrapped NAFTA and signed USMCA. Obama could not sign TPP trade deals because corporations were allowed to challenge domestic laws and regulations. They could sue governments and get compensation from taxpayers. They were not accountable to local judiciary.
Pakistan should bring its new regional deals to Parliament so that money comes into the pocket of public and state exchequer. It will stop corruption of indebting public and benefitting private mafia.
Old deals have not benefitted public. Pakistan is member of WTO but it has been subject to all kinds of illegal discriminatory controls including SBP, IMF, FATF, no cooperation on money laundering, cross border crimes and returning of fugitives.
Imagine status of a nuclear Pakistan having EU member like privileges with strong economy having more than 230 million population with 60 per cent youth, majority highly educated, well travelled with excellent global standing.
It exposes our incompetent leaders, Alibaba friends and useless alliances. Similarly, infrastructure of the country is mysteriously not working despite alliances with the West and the East.
There is no change in their status under dictatorships or civil governments. It is privatized, left in ruins or under foreign control. Look at energy sector, railways, Pak Steel, PIA, ports and PTCL.
It is true for systematic destruction of our education (professional and general), training (technical and vocational) and research. Without controlling infrastructure, there can be no economic prosperity for the public and the country.
Pakistan can be on a strong footing in the region by learning from history. EU created single market, fixed Euro exchange rate and gave four freedoms (free movement of goods, capital, services and people).
America enacted $15bn European Recovery Plan. NATO provided security to the EU member states so that they could build their economies.
We should use these examples to empower public in terms of well paid jobs, pensions, free healthcare, transport, education, wealth tax, revenue, agri-sector, food security, value addition and public sector instead of private mafia.
Dual nationality has to be scrapped. France used parliament memberships to control its colonies to exploit their resources. Quaid-i-Azam rejected similar traps.
Johnson enacted Brexit to have independent trade deals, foreign policy and defence alliances like Space Partnership with the US. But Britain has asked UK citizens to choose British or the EU citizenship.
Merkel accepted one million immigrants but did not allow dual nationality.The overseas Pakistanis should also be reduced by 90%. Merkel has defended Russia’s $11bn Nord Stream gas pipeline to fuel German economy. She rejected US sanctions during Trump era.
The annual exports of Germany are more than $1.5tn due to workers, research and free higher education.
She is successfully using bilateral, multilateral and other platforms to build the country because her hands were not tied due to overseas workers.
Pakistan will have to take similar steps to free it from foreign pressures to protect its public, economy and security interests while having healthy relations with all.
—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.