President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Zafar Bakhtawari, welcomed the United States’ (US) move to resume stalled strategic dialogue with Pakistan. He termed it a positive development saying that it would bring both countries closer in all areas, especially in the fields of trade and economic fields.
Bakhtawari in a statement on Friday said that thriving relations between Pakistan and the US are in the best interest of both countries, and welcomed the move by both countries to address problems and revive warm relations, which will create new opportunities for promoting commercial and economic ties.
Bakhtawari urged the US to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in its efforts to cope with the energy crisis, which has been the main factor in slowing down economic growth, with special focus on harnessing cheap energy sources.
He said the US has agreed to resume strategic dialogue for a faster, deeper, boarder and more comprehensive partnership with Pakistan.
Bakhtawari also asked the US government to ‘fully support’ the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project since its completion would significantly help in resolving Pakistan’s chronic energy problem.
Zafar Bakhtawari said the construction of the strategically important $14 billion Diamer Bhasha Dam is also stuck as a result of reluctant international financiers. The US should come forward to contribute positively for its construction and also recommend World Bank to support this vital project, he added.
Pakistan offers lucrative investment opportunities in different sectors of the economy and the US should encourage its investors to explore Pakistan for enhanced investment. He said the US has finalised a civil nuclear deal with India and it should also consider cooperating with Pakistan in civil nuclear technology to meet its rising energy needs.
The US has the latest technology to produce hydro-electricity while Pakistan has huge potential to generate hydel power, therefore the US should share its technology with Pakistan to fully harness this very cheap and untapped source of energy, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2013.
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