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January 17, 2012

‘Economic future of Pakistan linked to its energy future’

National

January 17, 2012

Karachi
Toby Dalton, Director, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said here on Monday evening that the economic future of Pakistan was interlinked with its energy future.
He made the observation at a roundtable discussion on ‘Political Future of Pakistan and International Community’ at a local hotel. The roundtable discussion was organised under the auspices of Centre for Peace, Security and Development.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he said, was a global think tank. “We think the dynamism that exists in Pakistan on its own terms, not in US terms,” he said.
“We understand issues such as circular debt, CNG issue and other issues being faced by Pakistan,” Dalton said.
The real issue was how Pakistan formed political consensus, how different political parties were brought together, he said.
“The fundamental problem is to bring confidence to bring investment,” he said.
“Energy is fundamental to the future, just as economy is fundamental to the future,” he emphasized.
George Perkovich, Vice President Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said Turkey was a very interesting example for growth. It was an ongoing struggle but there was so much interest to invest in Turkey, he said. Once such an environment was achieved, “the international community can come and augment,” he said.
He said we understand that many interesting things were going on in Pakistan.
He said the United States and other Western countries clearly want Pakistan to be peaceful.
“The sense of justice is very important in Pakistan and in any society,” he said. “To address injustices we need to involve the whole world,” he said.
He, however, made it clear that to bring about justice was “messy” and takes a long time but without it there could be no stability.
“We will be looking to see how Pakistan addresses these issues “internally” that were no doubt challenging, he said.
Perkovich

agreed that there was growing awareness that whatever happened during the last 60 years doesn’t work and lessons needs to be learnt. Pakistan itself has these issues and “economic dynamism is the key,” he remarked.
In Afghanistan too, he said, the US was trying to bring some sort of stability. Responding to a question Perkovich said he understands Memogate but it was not the US government that should be held responsible for it.
Information Minister Shazia Marri said, “Whatever went wrong in Pakistan is not only because of Pakistanis.”
“Pakistan is not only an important country in the region; it is important in the world,” she observed.
“We need you to understand what our passions are,” she said. “Remedies need to come from friends who influence us,” she said.
“All democracies have gone through experiences,” Marri said. “We are in the learning process; probably in a more challenging way,” she said.
“We are a younger democracy which is flourishing,” Marri said. “We were gifted the world’s most terrible dictator. He had no right to rule our three generations,” she made the remark referring to military ruler Gen Ayub Khan.
“Then there was Zia who brought Kalashnikov culture,” Marri said.
“We have hardly four years of democracy,” she said. “Our children want to respect others, but it’s a two-way thing,” she said.
Faisal Siddiqui, leader of Muthahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said extremism was not only an issue in Pakistan; it was a global issue.
Leave aside the United States, we have history of extremism in Pakistan, he said.
“The policy of good Taliban and bad Taliban needs to be checked,” he said. “It’s time to call a spade a spade,” he said. “The US needs to think that this country has become a security state,” he said.
Siddiqui said the international community should
support local government system in Pakistan and land reforms and taxation reforms were urgently needed in this country.
Dr Tanweer Khalid, ex-professor of political science at the University of Karachi, said justice and the rule of law must be given emphasis in US-Pakistan relationship.
Senator Haseeb emphasized the need to educate people while PPP leader Rafiq Engineer said Pakistan was demanding fair trade relations with the United States rather than aid.
Agha Masood said energy was no doubt an important problem but good governance was equally important.

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