DR. ARIF ALVI
Dr Alvi highlights country’s unprecedented success in fight against coronavirus pandemic
Pakistan set to emerge as world’s geo-strategic economic hub: President
Ideology of Pakistan vindicated by India’s anti-Muslim policies
Ashraf Ansari/Zubair Qureshi
President Dr Arif Alvi is of the view that Pakistan, as a result of the completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, is going to emerge as an international geo-strategic economic hub.
He has also expressed satisfaction over the progress on the ongoing CPEC projects, particularly mentioning the Gwadar Deep Sea Port.
In a panel interview with Pakistan Observer’s team led by Editor-in-Chief Faisal Zahid Malik and Executive Editor Gauhar Zahid Malik, the president touched on various pressing issues faced by the nation. The president said Gwadar being the shortest route for China to the sea, offered excellent connectivity with the Central Asian countries and rest of the world.
Speaking on a number of domestic and international issues ranging from Pakistan’s successful tackling of coronavirus to the plight of the people of the Indian Illegally Held Kashmir (IIHK) and the present government’s measures to economically empower the poor and the less-privileged classes, the president foresaw that under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership, the country would achieve unprecedented growth and progress in accordance with the vision of the Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Terming CPEC as a game-changer for Pakistan, the president said Gwadar port would not only boost Pakistan’s economy, it would also facilitate Afghanistan’s trade with the world and usher in a new era of regional peace and prosperity.
This will ultimately help Pakistan become a geo-strategic economic hub of the vast regions of Central Asia, Middle East and beyond, said the president.
The president made a special mention of Pakistan’s landmark achievements in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and pointed out that the country’s success is recognized even by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Pakistan achieved a breakthrough in its efforts against the pandemic by adopting smart lockdown strategy, said the president adding the success was due to coordinated efforts of various institutions including the armed forces, clergy, health officials and general public that overwhelmingly responded to the call of ‘wearing mask,’ ‘washing hands’ and ‘keeping social distance.’
About the opposition parties’ ongoing agitation, the president regretted that unfortunately, the Opposition parties were least concerned about the challenges being faced by Pakistan like India’s anti-Pakistan policies, ordeal of the people in the Indian Held Kashmiri and lockdown there for over one year and recently, Covid-19 pandemic which though under control is yet not over.
Pakistan government’s efforts to expose the Indian government’s illegal abolition of the special status of Kashmir received a setback by the opposition parties’ untimely agitation, noted the president.
He said that a smearing campaign was launched by some opposition elements against the Superior Judiciary and the Armed Forces of Pakistan.
The president said as President of Pakistan he believed in his impartial role but at the same time he cannot ignore the national interests. He said for the progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan all the institutions are on one page and any attempt to create misunderstanding/distrust among them is bound to meet failure.
To another question, the president said India was involved in terrorist incidents in Balochistan, but “Pakistani nation is determined to curb subversive activities being carried out by certain elements at the behest of India.
President Alvi said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s top priorities included education and health. He said all available resources are being mobilized to promote educational and health facilities in the country. Health cards are being distributed among the deserving families.
He underlined the importance of Information Technology (IT) and Pakistan’s enormous potential in this field. He said that he was heading a Task Force on IT to achieve breakthrough in this fast-growing technology. A team of experts has been invited from Silicon Valley to visit and train Pakistani experts. The trained Pakistani experts will further impart training to the youth employed in this sector.
President Arif Alvi was asked about various social issues requiring the government’s urgent attention. He said he was fully aware of such issues including women’s right of inheritance not being complied with, minorities’ issues in Sindh, crimes against women and children and 20 million out of school children. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government was making all out efforts to tackle all those issues but people should also play their role to overcome these problems.
The president appreciated the services being rendered by the Ombudspersons as they redress public complaints on urgent basis. The Wafaqi Mohtasib decides cases within 60 days of lodging the complaint. The complaints being submitted to the Wafaqi Mohtasib have grown over 100,000 in one year as a result of awareness among the people about this institution.
About raising awareness on population and creating religious harmony, the president said his office was making efforts and engaging the religious scholars to convince people on population. In Islam it is clearly mentioned that after child birth mother should breastfeed the baby for two years which is an Islamic way of family planning. Similarly, to discourage those forces that want rift among various schools of thought in the name of Islam, we need support of the Ulema. We have invited religious scholars at the Aiwan-e-Sadr and achieved their consensus on this key issue, he said.
When the president’s attention was invited to the price hike of essential commodities and the prevailing wheat flour crisis, he said he had proposed to the government to build up extra stocks of wheat and food items to discourage hoarding in the country.
The president said handling price hike was a question of management rather than corruption or shortage. We need to do homework and take measures well in advance to meet the challenge, he said.
He was optimistic that the measures being taken by the federal government would ease the situation.
DR. ARIF ALVI