Stability, peace in Afghanistan key to sustainable development in region: Sartaj

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APP13-05 ISLAMABAD: December 05 – Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaz Aziz addressing at 20th Sustainable Development Conference. APP photo by Javed Qureshi

ISLAMABAD, Dec 05 (APP):Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz Tuesday said that any future progress on regional integration would
sustain if peace and stability prevailed in Afghanistan.
“This is not possible without Pakistan’s support to the international community and we will do all that we can to help the
Afghan reconciliation process,” he said while addressing the three-day 20th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organized here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
He said Pakistan was an important force behind keeping trans-boundary energy and resource sharing agreements on track.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had paved the way for foreign investment in the country and had enabled Pakistan
to connect to all countries using the concept of One Belt, Road Initiative, he added.
Country Director Asian Development Bank Xiahong Nang said efficient infrastructure was an important element for regional cooperation.
Trade patterns, she said, were changing between emerging and developing countries and ultimately Pakistan had great potential to trade with CAREC countries.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail said SMEs should be a local economic venture, with focus on
industrial zones as facilitators with a national development innovations as key to economic development. Industrial zones, therefore, were the backbone of economic development under CPEC, he added.
Imran Shaukat from Jobs Group said CAREC and CPEC were international visions and among all countries, China was the only country promoting globalization and working on regional cooperation.
He stressed the need to help agro-based countries like Pakistan to bring forward the potential for export promotion.
Earlier in his welcome address, SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said today’s South Asia was a democratic region where stagnant economic conditions of the pre-independence era have now transformed into an economic dynamism.
“We are free to choose the people we want to be ruled by. We are free to live under a political system of our own choice,” he
said, adding that “We have reduced poverty on a massive scale, and our products and services are competing in the world.”
However, he said, “our economic scenario is still not able to address structural inequalities, and our economic growth has
made the difference between the rich and the poor as obvious as the one between glittering high-rises of Karachi, Mumbai, or
Dhaka and the slums just underneath them.”
In his keynote address, former State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Hussian said that in the first 40 years, the economic growth of Pakistan stood at 6 to 6.5% while India’s economy was at 3%. However, from 2000-2015, there was a decline in Pakistan’s
growth at 4 to 4.5%.
Bangladesh, he said, had also surpassed Pakistan, as currently its economic growth stood at 6 to 6.5%. Bangladesh’s
exports for 2016 were $35 billion whereas Pakistan’s exports were $21 billion.
To improve the current condition, Dr Ishrat reiterated that policies needed to be implemented, as efficient, strong, capable institutes made an economy functional. If the efficiency decreases, the cost and the competitive edge will also decrease, he
added.
He proposed that good governance and inclusive institutions could help promote economic integration in Pakistan.
Speaking at a session on ‘Women Access to Justice: Ending Violence against Women’ Ms Bandana Rana, Member of UN CEDAW Committee, said Pakistan and India had the reservations against Article 16 that deals with the issues pertaining to marriage, divorce ad married life. States have to translate suggestion/recommendation by the CEDAW committee and disseminate it to the large audience.
Pranav Adhikari from Nepal linked gender equality and empowerment with the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to him SDG’s cannot be achieved unless women goal 5 will be achieved. He was of the view that both men and women are subject to Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).