Voice of the People

24

Articles and letters may be edited for the purposes of clarity and space. They are published in good faith with a view to enlightening all the stakeholders. However, the contents of these writings may not necessarily match the views of the newspaper.

Our diplomatic shortcomings

Despite the fact that Pakistan has a principled stand on Kashmir and offered sanctuary to thousands of Afghan refugees fleeing their war-torn country, we suffer on the diplomatic front.

The diplomatic failures and isolation that haunt us within the region like Gulf, Mideast and in Asia, Europe, America etc., is because diplomatic assignments to various capitals are doled out as favors to political cronies and retired uniformed officers and bureaucrats to rehabilitate them or to serve the political and commercial interests of their godfathers at the helm.

For decades thousands of Afghan refugees and their leaders lived in Pakistan. Most of them instead of being friendly are hostile.

Is it because of mishandling by those assigned to interact with them? We need to do some soul-searching and self-reflection.

We must remember that it was Zia who volunteered to fight the American proxy war in Afghanistan, that got us embroiled in this needless misadventure which resulted in over 70,000 fatalities and economic loss of several billion dollars.

Musharraf followed suit and made matters worse. Zia and other corrupt individuals went from rags to riches while common citizens of Pakistan suffered endless miseries.

Even on the issue of Kashmir, except principled stand of few countries like Turkey Malaysia, China, Iran etc.,

there is lackluster support from other Muslim majority countries, with whom we have had transactional relationships offering them security expertise and assistance but hardly any trade relations. It is our failure that haunt us.

Diplomatic skills acquisition needed from our ambassadors can only be achieved through years of training, qualification and knowledge of international affairs, which unfortunately cannot be expected from retired bureaucrats and uniformed officers who were trained in their field of work, which has nothing in common with diplomacy, foreign affairs and promoting trade links.

MALIK TARIQ ALI
Lahore

Mango diplomacy

Two South Asian Muslim counties are trying to reduce the gap that other countries have taken advantage of. Pakistan and Bangladesh are pushing to build diplomatic, economic and cultural ties that could upend decades of historic arrangements in the region.

A number of developments have been made for diplomatic ties with the BD PM sending Haribhanga mangoes as a gift to Imran Khan, being a positive response towards the development of relations.

Practically 50% of the South Asian population is under poverty. It is tragic to witness that many South Asian countries prefer distant countries as their trading partners instead of their closest or neighbouring countries.

It has been estimated that in 2015, the trade between Bangladesh and Pakistan was at $1,376M, yet only $837M was recorded. It is due to the gap between trade potential and actual trade attributing to the gap in bilateral trade between the two nations.

Subsequently, it is expressed that a stronger regional cooperation for sustainable peace and prosperity can be achieved through the improvement of bilateral ties and people to people exchanges.

Bangladesh’s current export volume is as little as $72 million, which is only 0.2% of the complete fare.

What’s more is that Pakistan’s import is also 1.3% of Bangladesh’s $784 million overall import whereas from Pakistan’s side, it is 3.3% Additionally, trade between the two countries is only of a few goods such as textile fibre, paper yarn and woven fabrics.

Other significant exports include tobacco, cotton and attire and apparel which comprise almost 90% of Bangladesh’s import from Pakistan. Both countries should sign a bilateral free trade agreement.

The reconciliation process is indubitably, a welcoming step. There is dire need for policy shifts by the two governments to resolve previous issues in an expeditious manner and meet new challenges posed by the emerging world order.

MUJEEB UR RAHMAN
Karachi

Deforestation

Pakistan, being, a forest deficient country has suffered loss of forest biodiversity (conifers, riparian, thorn, mangroves) and is facing natural problems such as deforestation and forest degradation. Less than five percent of Pakistan’s total area is under forests.

The rate of deforestation is 1.5%, which is quite high and alarming. On the other hand, Balochistan and Sindh have presently become the hottest places on the planet this year with the temperature already due to the rise in temperature.

The government must put an end to deforestation and plant more and more plants to make Pakistan green and decrease such climatic changes.
SHAYMUREED JAN
Turbat Balochistan

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