Geopolitical challenges: ‘Pakistan needs to address core internal issues’

US delegation says a lot has to be done to stabilise the country.

News Desk May 21, 2015
Recently-released statistics on the economy were encouraging, however, a vast informal economy was thriving in the country. PHOTO:EPA

In order to surmount geopolitical challenges in the region, Pakistan’s policymakers must prioritise internal governance and address core issues including economy, terrorism and violent extremism. This was stated on Thursday by members of a delegation from the US at a roundtable discussion hosted by Jinnah Institute Thursday, according to a press release.

While observing that it was necessary for Pakistan’s leaders to build public institutions that ensure systemic durability, members of the delegation who belong to The Century Foundation’s (TCF) International Working Group on Pakistan, underscored Pakistan’s governance challenges.

In discussion with Pakistani experts, they agreed that public financing, counterterrorism and efforts on extremism merited immediate attention in order to shore up public support for democratic continual.

Recently-released statistics on the economy were encouraging, however, a vast informal economy was thriving in the country.

They observed that it was also important to stem the waste of valuable human resource, repair the civil service through much-needed reform, and capitalise on Pakistan’s youth dividend. Ensuing chaos in the Middle East should serve as a reminder to Pakistan of the fragility of states, and prompt concentrated appraisal and introspection.

In the context of changing geopolitical imperatives, participants agreed that Pakistan has an essential role to play, and that the support of the international community would be of vital importance in the coming years.

They said two major changes characterise the region— the rise of China as an invested stakeholder and internal transitions within Pakistan.

In India, participants noted that the space for peacemakers willing to engage with Pakistan was shrinking, and this was a function of domestic politics in New Delhi. Pakistan and India once again seemed to have run into an impasse, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy towards Pakistan was increasingly shaped by domestic priorities at home.

While the US was in the process of withdrawing from Afghanistan, it was seen that policymakers in Washington had tempered the pace of this withdrawal so that an unplanned drawdown may not bring about domestic electoral backlash, nor trigger alarm and chaos in Kabul. It was also noted that in the coming months, US assistance to Pakistan was likely to be much more strategic, to ensure prosperity on top of survival.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2015. 


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