Decade of political stability imperative to turn around economy: Ahsan Iqbal

Thursday, Jun 08, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday said Pakistan was in dire need of a decade of political stability to turn around the national economy and achieve a consistent growth trajectory. “There is a big opportunity for us to streamline the internal system, ensure political stability and create a decade of stability as economic policies do not prove result-oriented before ten years,” he said while addressing an international conference, organized here by the Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in collaboration with We News. The conference titled “Developments in the Middle East: Lessons and Opportunities for Pakistan” was also addressed by former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Ali Awadh Asseri, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Vice-Admiral Hasham bin Siddique, Dr Robert Mason, Non-Resident Fellow at Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, Professor Mahjoob Zweiri Dir, Gulf Studies Programme, Qatar University, Ambassador Javed Hafeez, former envoy of Pakistan and Azfar Ahsan, former Minister of State & Chairman Board of Investment (BOI). During 2013-18, the minister recalled that the PML-N government had effectively tackled the issues of load-shedding, terrorism, security and economy besides bringing around $29 billion in investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. The minister said there was a great scope for Pakistan to increase cooperation with Middle Eastern countries and draw investment, technologies and expertise in diverse fields like agriculture, livestock, information technology, human resource development and mining, which would be beneficial for increasing the country’s exports.

President IPRI, Ambassador Dr Raza Muhammad, while opening the conference, underscored the need for greater cooperation with the Middle Eastern states, and highlighted the ongoing regional socio-political developments as the way ahead. He said that focusing on inter-regional developments is a must, and Pakistan can learn and benefit a lot. He said that with Mideast coming together and burying the hatchet, Pakistan has some lessons to learn. Ali Awadh Asseri, former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, talked about the evolution of Saudi Arabia into a modern developed state under the vision of Muhammad Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. He said that KSA and Iran have their own interests in normalising relations and hoped that it will help Iran to break out of isolation. He called for ushering in political stability in Pakistan and opined that without putting the house in order democracy is meaningless.