Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that his country’s potential for trade will increase exponentially once bilateral relations are normalised with India and Iran. Imran Khan’s remarks come almost five months after the neighbours downgraded relations with each other, following the Pulwama terror attack perpetrated by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists, and New Delhi's decision to revoke Article 370 that provided special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are hoping that peace with Iran will also open up as a market. Even with India in the region, the moment our relations become normal, the trade potential for the region will grow exponentially,” Prime Minister Khan said while speaking at an event of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meet in Davos.
Imran Khan also stressed that if the governance in the country gets on the right track, then it may help in resolving a lot of issues. “The way our governance deteriorated, in the past, is one of the main reasons why we have not been able to realise our potential,” he said. “With our strategic location and a young population, if we improve our governance and our institutions, nothing can stop us from realising our potential,” he added.
Showing signs of progress in trade and connectivity projects, the Prime Minister talked about focusing on skill development, empowering the youth, encouraging young startups and entrepreneurship programmes.
“We’ve got help from China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We have got China to help us in developing the productivity of our agricultural sector. This is one area where Pakistan can make strides quickly,” Khan said. “On one side there is China, one of the world’s biggest markets. On the other side Central Asia with its resources and markets to open up once there is peace in Afghanistan,” he told the forum.
The United States, last November, had warned Pakistan that it faced long-term economic damage with little return if China keeps pursuing its giant infrastructure push. Top US diplomat for South Asia Alice Wells has said the CPEC has heralded as a game-changer by both Asian countries but this would profit only Beijing. She has said the corridor is going to take a growing toll on the Pakistan economy, especially when the bulk of payments are to be paid during the next four to six years, according to media reports.
(With ANI inputs)