Pakistan & importance of regional cooperation

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South Asia is regarded as the world’s poorest region, due to heavy population, relatively scarcely educated but with huge resources and potentials. Societies of this region have numerous historical commonalities and dissimilarities. The people of this poorly maintained, mismanaged but resourceful region realized the need to have a forum of cooperation and mutual assistance, where there is acceptance, tolerance and cordial relation among the states. The idea of having a regional organization that coordinate economic relations among the small countries of South Asia and to diminished the dominance of India, was given by the president of Bangladesh Zia Ur Rehman . The South Asian Organization for Regional Cooperation was established by Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, India, Nepal, and Pakistan in 1985 to promote economic, cultural and social development and combined self-reliance among the member countries. Afghanistan was given membership of the organization in 2007.
The countries with Observer status include the United States, European Union, China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar and Mauritius. Commonly regional as well as international organizations are formed for the promotion of peace and prosperity, advancement of social and economic fields and also facilitating friendly and harmonized relationship among the member countries. Particularly regional organizations work for facilitating the member countries to curb their animosities and to focus their attention on economic progress and improvement in all fields of life. The main goal of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was to strengthen the economies of the member countries and to promote collaboration in various areas of mutual significance. Presently the region is facing certain discouraging issues including insecurities, economic crisis and social problems etc. These issues can be effectively solved through mutual efforts of SAARC member nations. The organization of SAARC can realize the goals of achieving economic, cultural, and social growth as well as collective self-sufficiency through mutual efforts. Both the domestic and regional issues of SAARC member countries can be resolved if its leadership is serious in this regard. Specially in the region India is most rigid political power. which never try to sacrifices .Pakistan is an active member of SAARC which provide suitable frameworks to its member states to collectively stimulate cooperation and progress and to promote peace and stability in South Asia. Now the tenure of Pakistan to play the vital role to its best ability to promote economic activities, peace and prosperity and the most senior trade politic leader Mr Ifithakar Ali Malik has been elected the president of SAARC. Who is known as a popular trade leader in the trade history of Pakistan. Since last 40 years He has been elected 6 time vice president of SAARC. This tenure offered him to understand prime objective to do in among its countries. By his personal efforts SAARC head office is going to be held in Pakistan. He is world famous man having prestige his name in the world’s book “who is who” know by the super political heads like America, Uk, Russia, Germany. All they expect better changes in the countries under SAARC. The experience of Malik will bring a new era and radiant economic activities due to his capability and competency. Government of Pakistan should must take care the industry by given them privileges to make Pakistan as a Asian economic tiger by his exports in this regard Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan should must take a serious action to reduce sales tax on garment industry which is 17% that is a big ratio of tax which become hurdle to promote garments industry. Although Pakistan known by the garment produced country but this type of tax imposition will turned turtle the industrial standard and quantity in Pakistan And to give special reduced industrial package on electricity and gas for better economic growth rate. Pakistan has advanced its belief that a secure and peaceful environment in South Asia is crucial for the advancement of social welfare, economic development, and prosperity in the field of collective interests. Pakistan believes that the resolution of core issues among the member states would give a remarkable boost to the organization. Pakistan and India which are principle participants of the SAARC remained involved in unending rivalry with each other. Confrontation between the nuclear-armed India and Pakistan has caused apprehension and tension among the SAARC member and south Asian region.
Although these countries want cooperation with each other the unresolved problems restrict these states to establish a trustworthy relationship and enhance cooperation. SAARC could not be developed into a successful organization due to the authoritative position of India in the region and Pakistan’s apprehensive attitude. Pakistan does not agree to accept Indian supremacy and conversely, India is not ready to negotiate on an equal basis with Pakistan. This hostile attitude of both countries led to the cancellation of the SAARC summit that was planned to be held in Pakistan in November, 2016. SAARC summit was canceled after India and other member states refused to participate in the conference. India has successfully used its influence to undermine SAARC Summit which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan. Though such Indian efforts are aimed at hitting Pakistan but damaging her interests as such acts are against its economic advancement and poverty alleviation. However, Pakistan has to tackle the circumstances and should try to reach out SAARC member countries to clarify its just and rightful stand on Kashmir issue, its legal stand on water dispute, its sacrifices for the eradication of all forms of violence and terrorism as well as to highlight the significance of unhindered cooperation which is essential for a balanced order of South Asia.Pakistan’s strategic position in South Asia has remained focal to the strategic dynamics of the world. Pakistan remained a close US ally in the era of cold war, a key participant in dismantling the Soviet Union, a main facilitator of US-China reproached, a frontline state against Taliban and presently playing crucial role in eradicating the evils of terrorism and militancy and thus it continued to perform the role of fall guy.
The success and failure of SAARC South Asian region faces perpetual security threats from external powers seeking predominant position over the region as well as from regional major powers trying to acquire hegemonic status. Through the forum of SAARC, all these evils could be served successfully. Over the last three decades, SAARC has effectively managed to form institutions, situations, and forums for coordinating the activities of the countries of South Asia. Despite extremely tough political conditions, the organization has undertaken various significant topics such as development agreements, food and development bank, and agreements on energy and transportation, agriculture as well as fighting terrorism. Moreover, interactions in science and civil society have become important pillars of integration efforts in the region. The organization of SAARC put great emphasis on economic and social development and friendly relations among regional states.
—The writer is an entrepreneur & senior economic analyst (Chairman) Federation Pakistan chamber, garment industry committee, Small & medium industrial association bund road Lahore and Pakistan columnist council Lahore Pakistan.