Together we prosper

SUCCESSFUL holding of the 13th Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit and its positive outcome is, indeed, a tribute to Pakistan’s diplomacy in the present-day complicated regional and global environment and reflection of common resolve of the member states to pursue goal of shared prosperity through intensified regional economic cooperation and connectivity. The enemy conspired to create a sense of insecurity both for the Summit and PSL final Lahore but government took the challenge head on and ably foiled such designs.
The level of participation of member countries was also encouraging as, with the exception of Afghanistan, all states were represented at head of the state or government level, which again contributed to ward off the impression being created by India that Pakistan stands isolated. The successful ECO summit has also made it clear as to who is a spoiler in SAARC, the summit of which was sabotaged by New Delhi for untenable reasons. As for Afghanistan, it has done no service to itself by distancing from a highly impressive and productive event that would have also afforded an opportunity for sorting out differences that are currently affecting smooth relationship between Islamabad and Kabul. Anyhow, leaving apart these security and political issues, the Summit itself would go down as a remarkable moot as it not only adopted a comprehensive Islamabad Declaration but also ECO Vision-2025 delineating 10-year roadmap for economic cooperation and regional connectivity. If everything goes well in coming years the region would be woven by a network of rail and road linkages besides sea routes and energy, trade corridors. Pakistan and China are already implementing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the project can be expanded with inclusion of ECO member states either individually or collectively under a well chalked out framework. Pakistan has rightly emphasised the need for intensified trade and economic interaction and hopefully this dream can be realised with completion of the CPEC and other connectivity projects under the ECO umbrella.

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