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October 8, 2019

Moot discusses regional stability for economic prosperity


October 8, 2019

Islamabad:The Serena Hotels hosted a panel discussion under its Public Diplomacy Initiative ‘Raabta’ on ‘Enterprising Peace – Regional Stability for Economic Prosperity’.

The panel of experts featured FBR Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi, human rights and international relations activist Prof. Khalida Ghous, journalist Fahd Husain, and Executive Director of the Center for International Strategic Studies Ali Sarwar Naqvi.

World Bank’s Country Director for Pakistan Ilonggo Patchamuthu was the keynote speaker. The discussion revolved around regions and states that are not necessarily in overt conflict, but that are institutionally and economically weak and vulnerable to international threats and instability.

Syed Shabbar Zaidi said, “The first thing we have to establish in Pakistan is consistency and stability in our system and policies. In the last 20 years, $6 billion per year have been transferred out of Pakistan and this figure is reported in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The investment percentage in Pakistan is one of the lowest in the region. Since, at least, 1990s there has been a serious outflow of the real investment from Pakistan. Why? It is due to economic instability. A good economist will not invest unless he thinks 50 years ahead.” When asked about the impact of the Indian conflict with Pakistan on the confidence of businessmen, Mr. Zaidi retorted, “The Indian threat is the strength for Pakistan as it unites them, but the issue of disparity within Pakistan is a bigger threat to us.”

Dr. Professor Khalida Ghous said that Islamophobia is seen through the lens of religion alone, whereas other interrelated issues like immigration and assimilation play a role too.

Fahd Husain remarked that one fundamental weakness of Pakistan, in this time of global connectivity and global narratives, is that we are allowing other people to craft our story for us. He said, “The state of Pakistan has failed to appreciate the impact that a global story can have. We have not built the infrastructure through which we can tell our story. That infrastructure, in other words, is a strategic communication policy system.”

Ambassador Naqvi said, ”The global politics, in the 21st century, has seen a very striking transformation. All the old patterns and links of global politics have been blurred.” He gave the example of how China being a strong friend of Pakistan has thriving trade relationships with India; similarly, how Russia being the decades-old ally of India is reaching out to Pakistan. In that context, external peace is very important but there is no connectivity in this region.

Aziz Boolani, CEO Serena Hotels, said, “Raabta is the culmination of the value that Serena Hotels brings to society.

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