Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Towards Central Asia

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The recently concluded visits of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan show the recalibrated vision of the PML-N government to build regional linkages for shared economic prosperity, Pakistan’s quest for becoming a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Chinese strategy to revive the old Silk Route in which Pakistan has a pivotal role to play. 

In the backdrop of the MOUs and agreements for implementation of the projects under the China-Pak Economic Corridor, and the newfound bonhomie with Afghanistan, these visits were essential to nudge the process of economic cooperation with the Central Asian states, especially the implementation of trans-regional projects like the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and Casa-1000 for transmission of electricity from Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

TAPI- Regaining focus

Courtesy:-   Tariq Osman Hyder

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan from 20 to 22 May. Regional energy connectivity lies at the heart of Pakistan’s strategic interests in Central Asia; particularly with Turkmenistan, our oldest and closest partner in this region. This is an opportunity to restore focus to the 1680 km natural gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan. The Prime Minister is well qualified to appreciate that two decades have been lost, as he has been to Ashgabat and other Central Asian capitals more frequently than any other Pakistani leader. He visited Ashgabat in: May 1992 for the first Summit Meeting of Central Asian States, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran; May 1997 for the ECO Extraordinary Summit after which he and President Niyazov signed a Protocol on the gas pipeline project with Unocal and Delta oil companies of the CENTGAS Consortium; and a one day visit in October 1997 to enquire after President Niyazov’s health following a major operation, during which meeting the pipeline project was further discussed.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The quest for peace

Courtesy:-   Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The visit of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and COAS General Raheel Sharif to Afghanistan on Tuesday, has a great significance in regards to the consolidation of the gains of cooperative relations between the two countries since the installation of the unity government in Afghanistan, the fast changing geo-political realities in the region, elimination of terrorism as well as peace in Afghanistan through political reconciliation, supported and encouraged by both Pakistan and China.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Economy rebound

Courtesy:- MALIK MUHAMMAD ASHRAF 

Is Pakistan on track to becoming the promised Asian Tiger?
In a striking contrast to the situation two years ago the buzzword among the world lending institutions, international evaluating and rating agencies as well as some prestigious national bodies is that the economy of Pakistan is bouncing back strongly as a consequence of the robust and imaginative macro-economic agenda pursued by the government. Just when the government has started negotiations with IMF for the seventh review under the $6.4 billion Extended Fund Facility in Dubai, an international rating agency Standards & Poor’s has raised Pakistan’s credit rating outlook to Positive from Stable. Explaining the rationale for this up-gradation, the report says, “The positive outlook reflects our expectation of Pakistan’s improved economic growth prospects, fiscal and external performance and the supportive relationship of external donors over the next 12 months.” This evaluation follows a similar encouraging report by Moody’s Investor Service in March.