Malik urges Trump to adopt realistic approach for durable stability in S Asia

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Founder Chairman Pak-US Business Council Iftikhar Ali Malik, slamming the US President Donald Trump statement about alleged terrorists’ safe haven in Pakistan, said his illogical stance is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, Iftikhar Ali Malik said it is both disturbing and disappointing to hear a repeat of Pakistan being pressured to do more to stabilize Afghanistan. “Pakistan and the United States have been close allies in the fight against terrorism, which is a common threat to all nations of the world adding he said as a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work sincerely with Pakistan to stamp out the menace of terrorism.
After years of shouldering the heavy lift in Afghanistan and suffering the blowback of an earlier transformational war thirty years ago, Pakistan should not have had to hear recrimination as a non-NATO ally that has given unparalleled colossal sacrifices in life, resources and national trauma to fighting a joint battle against terrorism on the Afghan border. There is little mention of the cost Pakistan has incurred or the successes it continues to achieve in clearing terrorism from the region,” he added.
He further said that the Trump-led US administrations should recognize the sacrifices rendering to eradicate terrorism in Pakistan as Pakistan is bearing irrecoverable loss due to its involvement in war on terror. “After the US invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan saw a huge influx of Afghan refugees as one of the main host countries. There was a sudden rise in the number and scale of terrorist attacks in the country. The cumulative impact of these developments adversely impacted the overall growth rate in all major sectors of the economy.
Normal economic and trading activities were disrupted, resulting in higher costs of doing business and significant delays in meeting the export orders around the globe. As a result, Pakistani products gradually lost their market share to their competitors. Economic growth could not pick up as planned,” he pointed out.
He emphasised that Pakistan has always preferred to resolve all issues peacefully. He said that both India and Afghanistan have given their point of views. He said it is a matter of few days that Pakistan’s aid may be stopped, decreased or conditions can be revised, adding said that India may increase diplomatic pressure on Pakistan as a result of the new policy.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said all political parties should set aside their political differences for the sake of the country and sit down to evolve a joint strategy to tackle US-India diplomatic pressure. He said the United States also has no choice but to use Pakistani roads to resupply its troops in landlocked Afghanistan. “If Pakistan becomes an active foe, it could further destabilise Afghanistan and endanger U.S. soldiers,” adding he said Pakistan should negotiate with US keeping Pakistan’s interests on top of agenda.
However, 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 is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. He said 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.

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