US, Pakistan urged to obliterate trust deficit on war against terror

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Vice President SAARC Chamber and Founder Chairman Pak US Business Council Iftikhar Ali Malik, a veteran trade leader Saturday urged the US and Pakistan to take concrete and durable result oriented measures to obliterate trust deficit over Afghanistan in the wake of war on terror and sustainable peace in the region.
Addressing a high level delegation of traders from SAARC member countries here today, he said Pakistan is inevitable for the peace in South Asia and any US policy without Pakistan will not be fruitful to stamp out terrorism. “However, America’s open double standards in relation to India and Pakistan and secret double game with the latter have created unbridgeable trust deficit between Pakistan and the US,” he added.
He further said the world especially the US under Trump administration should recognize the sacrifices of Pakistan on war against terrorism. He said terrorism has claimed more than 74,000 people over the last 14 years and suffered over $123 billion economic losses besides damaging roads network .He said the business community wants no confrontation with the US but only an independent foreign policy and strategy with regard of war on terrorism without anyone’s dictation.
He said Pakistan is only country in the world, which still hosted largest number of Afghan refugees for more than three decades.
Malik slammed US President Donald Trump policy about alleged terrorists’ safe haven in Pakistan and said his illogical stance is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region. He said the US administration instead of imposing restrictions on Pakistan should offer fruitful help to Pakistan for revival of its economy so that we can fight more efficiently against terrorism.
He urged the government to revisit its policy with the world especially the United States and prefer trade and investment rather than banking on aid for strengthening national economy fractured in fight against terror for the more than one decade.
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. Iftikhar further said that the Trump-led US administrations should recognize the colossal sacrifices rendering to flush out terrorism in the region as Pakistan is bearing irrecoverable heavy loss due to active participation in war on terror.
Normal economic and trading activities were disrupted badly, 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 said that 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
For this purpose, he suggested that the United States and Pakistan 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. “Pakistan has lost more troops total than all of Nato coalition combined in the fight against them,” he added.

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