Amer Ishaq Soharwardi
Bureau Chief, Washington
The recent tensions between Tehran and Washington were alarming to the whole world but Pakistan Pakistan shares a 997-kilometre border with Iran, was directly related to this conflict as a neighbor of Iran and a country rebuilding its relations with USA. The recent tensions were a test case for Pakistan leadership which never played a neutral role, but this was the first time in many decades that Pakistan not only remain outside of a conflict zone with a common border but also was a keen player stressing both sides to restrain from war. It was all from the leader of new Pakistan the Prime Minister Imran Khan who with a commitment that Pakistan not to be used for any war and a global promise to work for peace building and mediation between two countries and negotiating peace.
Prime minister Imran Khan has stressed the need to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East. In a Twitter post, Imran Khan added that he is sending his Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to Iran, Saudi Arabia and United States to meet with counterparts. Regional tensions remain high after Iran fired missiles at two bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces in retaliation for the U.S. killing of its top military commander. Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that his country will not be part of any conflict in the region. Also U.S. defense secretary discussed the Middle East situation with Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa Foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi reconfirming the vision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan said the country would not be dragged into any conflict between the US and Iran as he urged both sides to lower tensions following the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani last week. ll this was not happening in isolation Pakistan learned from
The war on terror which has been drastically affected country’s economy, exports, physical infrastructure, tax collection and investment and our social fabric. Since Pakistan became a partner in war on terror the insurgency started in Pakistan following the US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 60,000 Pakistani civilians, security forces personnel and women and children have been killed in gun, bomb and suicide attacks. Besides, thousands of others have been seriously injured or handicapped and are unable to win bread for their children which ultimately also created other social issues in the society. On average, every year Pakistan suffered losses of $7.7 billion more than the country’s total expenditures on education, health and other social safety schemes. The economic survey gives further figures, saying that in 2001/02, the cost was $2.67 billion, 2002/03 $2.75 billion, 2003/04 $2.93 billion, 2004/05 $3.4 billion, 2005/06 $3.99 billion, 2006/07 $4.67 billion, 2007/08 $6.94 billion, 2008/09 $9.18 billion, 2009/10 $13.56 billion, 2010/11 $23.77 billion, 2011/12 $11.98 billion, 2012/13 $9.97 billion, 2013/14 $7.7 billion, 2014/15 $9.24 billion and in 2015/16 it was $6.49 billion dollars. That is just one side of the story .
The country fell a victim of terrorism extremism Kalashnikov culture drugs and severe law and order situation.
The vision of Imran Khan leads the way to Pakistan as for the first time after many decades Pakistan was not on any side but was working for global peace, there was no one dictating Pakistan the terms and methodology how to be master or a friend. And for the first time in many decades the people of Pakistan are not suffering out of a foreign war.