KARACHI – The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) Chairman Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd) on Thursday lauded the efforts of the government to improve regional cooperation terming it key to the prosperity.
Pakistan’s most important relations should be with its neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, India, Iran, and China instead of the western countries, he said.
Pakistan is giving too much importance to some western countries which they do not deserve as we are not as much dependent on them as believed, he added.
Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd) said that intra-regional trade is extremely important for boosting economic growth and prosperity in the region will remain a far cry unless Pakistan and India become closer.
A World Bank report estimates that trade between Pakistan and India is a mere $2 billion whereas, without trade barriers, this could reach $37 billion as both the countries continue to maintain long, sensitive lists of items on which no tariff concessions are granted he said.
He said that political tensions and non-tariff barriers are also playing their role, cargo trucks from either side cannot move beyond their border zones while visa regimes restrict the mobility of people between the two countries.
Pakistan is no longer an isolated country, friendly nations are pouring in aid, grants, and investment and it is high time to exploit the potential of trade cooperation with Iran and Turkey in sectors like barter trade, tourism and oil and gas using seaports and rail and road infrastructure.
Pakistan Iran and Turkey are natural allies and can work together through a collective economic initiative to improve the plight of masses and counter unjustified sanctions.