ISLAMABAD, Oct 7 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said having land routes and trade linkages across the region, including Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian states, Pakistan should be promoted better as a geo-economic hub rather than mere for its geo-strategic location.
“Promoting Pakistan as the geo-economic hub should be our vision instead of mere showing up its strategic location…Our goods can be traded to and from China and Central Asia through the Gwadar Port – a great option for regional trade,” the president said in an interview with Dr Mooed Pirzada at a private television channel (92 News).
He said Pakistan had already shifted the Afghan transit trade to Gwadar. The regional trade could be enhanced significantly once peace was restored in Afghanistan.
To a question, the president said the real obstruction in Afghan peace was the role of spoilers like India, which always tried to disrupt peace in the region, be it the atrocities in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir or the discrimination towards its minorities.
India tried to establish its hegemony in the region by jumping into different blocs and forums, he added.
Dr Alvi said he had also discussed with the leadership of Turkmenistan the pending project of TAPI (Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India) gas pipeline and also called for offering a reasonable price.
He said Pakistan’s gas reserves were depleting by 9 percent annually and the incumbent government had given exploration rights in 12 blocks.
To a question, the president said after the court’s verdict against him, Nawaz Sharif earlier targeted the judiciary and now the military.
The narrative of targeting the national institution was tantamount to appeasing and supporting the enemy country’s agenda, he remarked.
Asked about the FIR (first information report) for a treason case against Nawaz Sharif, President Alvi said even the prime minister was astonished to know and called it “foolish” for dragging a political matter to another side.
Someone would have registered the FIR just for publicity as everyone was free to do so in the country, he added.
To a question about the marches planned by the opposition parties, he said, “The marches are beauty of the democracy until the same endanger the country.”
However, he advised the parties to exercise caution to avoid spread of coronavirus due to the protest gatherings.
To a query, he said during his term, the Presidency had taken multiple public interest initiatives like youth training in artificial intelligence, he was heading task forces on IT (Information Technology) and population, and his role to enhance coordination among the federal ministries, besides First Lady Samina Alvi running a month-long awareness on breast cancer.
Agreeing to the host anchor for necessity to ensure availability of local made flu shots in Pakistan, he said the local production of contraceptive was also essential for population control as well as prevent stunted growth of the children.
The president termed Rs 1.1 trillion Karachi Transformation Package as vital for the resolution of major chronic issues being faced by its residents and stressed upon swift implantation by all the stakeholders.
He enumerated that transport, sewage, urban solid waste and drinking water were the major issues of the port city.
Dr Alvi said he would request both the federal and Sindh governments to work together for the implementation of development package as both had contributed in the uplift plan.
The prime minister was very keen over the implementation of the package and fast paced the development of Karachi, he maintained.
”The Prime Minister’s Karachi package, once implemented, will completely resolve its major issues,” he said while expressing his satisfaction over the package.
The president said the governance structure worldwide had assumed great importance and different countries had progressed on the basis of efficient functioning of their institutions.
To a question, Dr Alvi observed that a responsible local government in Karachi should work independently.
He said corruption through land grabbing was the major hurdle, which was also indicated by courts in their observations.
About Buddu and Bundal Island, the president reiterated that its development would ensure progress and prosperity, and change face of Karachi through different construction and investment activities.
He also read out Article 172 (2) and (3) of the Constitution, which clearly provided ownership rights of a land and distribution of natural resources among the federation and provinces. He maintained that the Port Qasim Authority Act had clearly provided for its jurisdiction and powers.
The president to another query said the development of Gwadar Port would serve as main connectivity linkage with the Central Asian countries.
Dr Alvi also stressed upon the masses to realize threat of coronavirus infection, which had receded but not ended.
He emphasized that the people should wear masks, wash their hands frequently and observe social distancing.
To a query, he recollected his personal experiences, and said Karachi and its people had faced terrorism in the past and undergone the worst conditions