Posted by: Administrator | 6 July, 2006

President at Shanghai Institute of International Studies

PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS TO THE SHANGHAI INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES ON PAKISTAN-CHINA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

14 June 2006

Madam Yuxian Tian, President of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, Excellencies, Scholars, Members of the Academia and Friends, I consider it a special privilege to have the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering of the political thinkers, academicians and scholars at the prestigious Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

The institute has a rich intellectual tradition for which I wholeheartedly compliment you and wish you continuing success. It is also a matter of great pleasure for me to be visiting, once again, this great and beautiful city of Shanghai that is now the proud symbol of the momentous transformation of China. The vigor and pace of development of your great city is an inspiration and sets the tone and direction for the twenty-first century. I am in Shanghai to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to which Pakistan was admitted as an observer last year. We wish to make a contribution to the endeavors of this important organisation for the promotion of peace, security and development.

This year also marks the 55th year of the anniversary of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations. We in Pakistan take great pride in the close friendship and cooperation that our two countries have developed and maintained for over half a century. Our friendship is often described as “all-weather and ever-green” and remains an outstanding example of mutually beneficial cooperation based on the principles of peaceful co-existence. This friendly cooperation has been important to both countries; it has contributed in a significant measure to peace and stability of our region as well as to the promotion of international understanding and amity.

The two countries are formally bound in a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation that provides the framework for an all round strategic partnership rooted in the popular ethos of our people and their common aspirations for regional and global peace and progress.

Review of Global Environment, ladies and gentlemen. In today’s global environment, the need to sustain and further reinforce our friendly partnership has assumed even greater significance. Today’s world is marked by challenges, uncertainties and danger on one side while opportunities and hope exists on the other side. The world remains insecure with the new threat of terrorism. New conflicts have afflicted Iraq and Afghanistan while old problems of Palestine and Kashmir continue to fester. Inequities persist between and within regions. Intra-state strife and implosion have caused enormous human suffering. The impact of globalisation varies from  region to region and country to country. Countries that have seized the opportunities offered by this sweeping phenomenon have gone very far, while those left behind have led to widening disparities and dangerous inequalities in the world.

On the positive side, the great transformation of China, that is unprecedented in history for its scale and pace, is perhaps the most important development of the last quarter century. This has the most far-reaching implications for Asia and the world. We have also seen the rise of powerful economic and trading blocs exemplified by the European Union and ASEAN that have served as engines of growth and development in the world. On the negative side, regions failing to institutionalize cooperation within themselves suffer economic disadvantage and tend towards marginalisation. In confronting the challenges and seizing the opportunities, we need a clear vision and determination.

In pursuit of our common interest for ensuring a better, peaceful and prosperous future we need to focus on key areas. First, promotion of a strong UN system based on Charter principles that must discourage unilateralism and encourage collective approach to prevent and redress new crises and conflicts. Resort to diplomatic and political approach remains the most rational option for promotion of peace in the world.

Second, resolution of existing conflicts and disputes. We desire to see a just resolution of the Palestine issue that has been the cause of so much suffering in the world. On our part, we are committed to find a peaceful solution of the long-standing Kashmir dispute. Concerted international action is required to bring conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end. We see no alternative to a diplomatic solution to the Iran’s nuclear issue or to the six-party talks on North Korea. Third, sustained fight against terrorism and extremism by also addressing comprehensively the root causes.

Extremism and violence grow in an environment where people feel denied of justice, basic dignity and freedom.

Fourth, tolerance and understanding among cultures and peoples. We need to reject the false and dangerous notion of clash between cultures and civilizations in particular between Islam and the West. These are dangerous ideas that only breed prejudice and hatred. Fifth, promotion of an equitable and just economic order in which globalization is managed to bring greater benefit to all countries and regions of the world – especially the under developed. In our region we believe in the vision of the Asian century and the higher objective of peace and prosperity of our ancient continent. The peaceful rise of China, that also signals transformation of Asia, points to break from the past centuries of hegemony and exploitation. With our economic strength, 3 demographic advantage and expanding technological and entrepreneurial base, we have the opportunity to build a bright future for the Asian region and for the world.

Pakistan’s Role in the Region for Peace and Development ladies and gentlemen. In the interest of the noble endeavor for regional peace and development we see Pakistan and China as partners and our policies as complementary. Here I would like to pause and first elaborate on the role of Pakistan for peace in the region, our national priorities for development and our vision as a hub for economic activity promoting trans-regional linkages. Let me say that Pakistan is in the forefront of the fight against terrorism and extremism. We are engaged in this struggle first and foremost in our own interest and  motivated by our conviction that terrorism and extremism are a new danger that cause instability, chaos and turmoil and retard progress. We believe that terrorism must be rejected and countered with all force as it threatens and disrupts modern societies. On the ground we are engaged in countering Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups that had found havens in Afghanistan and tried to flee that country, many coming into Pakistan, after the American military action in the wake of 9/11. We have gained significant successes fighting and suppressing these groups thus helping the stability of our own society and contributing to security in the world.

However, I always emphasize that in the war against terrorism and extremism it is also important to address the root-causes that lie in political disputes and deprivation in poverty that breed extremism. Eliminating individual terrorists and groups is like plucking leaves and branches of a tree, whereas resolving conflicts and disputes is like hitting the roots.

In this context I have suggested the concept of’ ‘enlightened moderation”. One prong of this approach requires the Islamic countries to undertake reforms for socio-economic emancipation and to counter extremists. The other prong calls upon the West to help with the resolution of conflicts that concern Muslim societies and have long impacted on their psyche. We are making every effort to help Afghanistan rehabilitate itself politically, economically and achieve success in the ongoing Bonn process. We want to see a strong government in Afghanistan which can ensure stability in the country and overcome internal strife as well as the menace of drug and arms culture.

Pakistan is also engaged with India in the search for a peaceful settlement of Kashmir. Confidence building relations between the two countries have improved; giving rise to an unprecedented opportunity that must be seized to resolve the longstanding dispute and all other differences. Success will depend on sincerity, flexibility and courage from both sides. There is no alternative to a durable peace that should allow the people of South Asia to devote their energies for socio-economic development. 4

 Ladies and Gentlemen, the top priority in our domestic policies which also represents the greatest challenge in Pakistan relates to socio-economic development, reforms and strengthening of political institutions in the country.

Our goal is a strong economy, stable political institutions, good governance, and credible security. Through sustained efforts, sound management, financial discipline and consistent reforms based on liberalization, privatization and de-regulation of economy, we have achieved economic recovery and sustainable growth of over 7% in the last four years.

Today Pakistan stands among top Asian countries in terms of economic growth. Since I took over in 1999, our reserves have grown from virtually nothing to over US $ 13 billion that represents our seven months of import bill.

Today, we are attracting substantial investments. FDl for the past year was over US $ 3 billion. Accordingly, there is a bounce and confidence in our economy which is evident in all indicators including poverty reduction, increased employment, higher GDP and per capita income which is close to US $ 850 with purchasing power parity index of US $ 2350. We have also increased allocation of resources for education, health and other social sectors.

Pakistan has a comprehensive strategy in the education sector which along with the promotion of universal education also emphasizes quality higher 210 Documents education. We believe that human resource is our most valuable asset that demands maximum focus. Pakistan’s Position as a Regional Economic Hub.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We are determined to build on the sustained economic growth, political stability and peaceful environment that we are determined to achieve. Also, Pakistan needs to keep in step with global trends that are being shaped largely by economic forces. In our future planning, we need to leverage our strategic location at the crossroads of Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia and in the vicinity of regions rich in natural resources and energy. This advantage can also be channeled into mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership with China. Pakistan can serve as the hub of economic activity linking these regions by developing energy corridors, transit trade routes and communication links through Pakistan. Offer of energy corridors: We are actively working on Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline as well as Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline with possibility of extension to India. These two projects are important to meet the growing energy needs of Pakistan and India.

Another extension of the Iran-Pakistan segment of the gas pipeline could be its extension to China along the Karakoram Highway on to Xinjiang.

Pakistan is planning to build refining facilities at Gwadar Port that has been constructed with the help of China. The port is significant as it lies outside the narrow and sensitive Straits of Hormuz. The port can become an important alternate energy and trans-shipment port. Oil and gas from the Caspian basin can have an outlet at Gwadar which can develop as a distribution point for Southeast Asia and Africa. The port will have the advantage of a land link with China. Pakistan is developing road infrastructure linking Gwadar and other ports of Pakistan to Central Asia. This will provide resource- 5 rich region, shortest route to the Arabian Sea and the world. Pakistan has requested China to help with the up-gradation of the Karakoram Highway that was regarded as a wonder of engineering (even called the eighth wonder of the world) when constructed through Pakistan-China cooperation almost thirty years ago. This road when upgraded will provide the shortest route to the Sea for products manufactured in China. The same road can serve to provide overland route for trade between China and India thus linking two of the largest markets in Asia. In parallel with the up-gradation of the Highway, we can plan for gas pipelines and even a railway link connecting Western China with Pakistani railway network. These will then be ninth and tenth wonders of the World. Modern technologies should make it possible to overcome the difficulties of the terrain. Pakistan can thus act as the trade and energy corridor for China. Strategic communication and trade linkages between South Asia and Central Asia and South Asia and West Asia passing through Pakistan will transform the country into an economic hub giving boost to inter-regional economic activity, Pakistan’s membership and association of the regional organizations namely SCO, SAARC and ECO lends the country a unique position to facilitate inter-regional cooperation.

Geography has endowed us with unique potential to become the hub of economic activity in our region. In the process, we will be able to build a dynamic economy for ourselves and help advancement of communications and beneficial economic interaction between our neighboring regions. Energy corridors would add to energy security which preoccupies many expanding economies.

Pakistan-China Partnership for Economic Progress in our endeavors, we look forward to a very Documents 211 strong partnership and engagement with China. You are now reaching out to the world with investments. Pakistan is an attractive destination given our long tradition of stable and friendly relations and the opportunities that we offer. Already, a large number of Chinese companies are based in Pakistan. You have helped with Gwadar and the Karakoram Highway. Your companies are engaged in extraction and development of mineral resources in Pakistan. We would like you to engage with us in a substantive manner in the energy sector. I am happy to say that last April, a joint Pakistan-China Energy Forum meeting was held in Islamabad in which several of your major corporations had participated and identified areas of cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, we view our strong friendly relations, understanding and cooperation as an indispensable factor for peace and stability in the region. Similarly, our growing, economic partnership is not only mutually beneficial, it would also contribute towards the realization of the full potential of economic interaction, trade and development of neighboring regions especially Central Asia and South Asia. We in Pakistan see a great role for China in Asia and the world. China has a unique position as a neighbor of all major sub-regions of Asia; your great economic strength augurs well for Asia and the world. With this strength you can help growth and economic stability in your vast neighborhood and also contribute to reshaping a more balanced and equitable global trade and economy. Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a special pleasure to share my thoughts with the intellectual elites of Shanghai. I request you to continue to contribute towards further strengthening of Pakistan-China partnership and friendly cooperation that has always benefited our two countries and our region and contributed to promoting global peace and understanding.

I thank you. Long live Pakistan-China friendship!

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