By Ulvi Ahmedli
The world leaders gathered for discussing the most pressing global problems within the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland for 21-24 January 2020. Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan has participated in this event and made special address touching upon how climate change, instability, economic condition and geopolitical position of Pakistan.
In his speech, Imran Khan noted that the founders of the country, which he grew up set welfare state model as a priority. He expressed his vision for following this path. For achieving welfare, the state model, the Prime Minister gave comprehensive information on Pakistan’s current situation.
Firstly, He started with the most trending issue in the forum, the climate change.
“What I loved about Pakistan, it is its wilderness, its mountains,” Pakistani Prime Minister gave attention on the nature of his country
He also alarmed about the disappearance of such God-given nature of Pakistan. Imran Khan stated that when his party governed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, they could have achieved to plant 1 billion trees within four years.
“We appealed the people; we involved the women in the mountains for growing nurseries. It is one of the most successful campaign in our country’s history of forestation,” he informed that authority involved people and local communities for implementing a planting plan.
Imran Khan also vowed to plant ten billion trees in Pakistan for the next four years. He said that such plans aimed to prevent cities from pollution.
Peace and stability
Imran Khan spoke about how unstable geopolitical position of Pakistan harms its economic development. He mentioned the Afghanistan wars that go on through decades.
“Pakistan has suffered the consequences [of Afghanistan war]. We have militant, sectarian groups, clash of cultures, drugs coming to the country. That was the watershed of Pakistan. You need stability for economics,” Pakistani PM said.
Afterward, he explained how the Afghanistan war gave drastic results for his country. When another war started in Afghanistan, Pakistan was required to disarm such groups, which took the lives of 70,000 people. Instabilities in the country aroused from military confrontations damaged the image of Pakistan as a dangerous place in the world.
“When I assume the power, I decided, Pakistan will only be partner of other countries in peace. We will not join any country in its conflict,” Imran Khan stated while evaluating how this idea works.
He also stated that Pakistan is following this policy by trying to pacify conflicts in the region. Imran Khan reminded Pakistan’s attempts in Saudi Arabia-Iran and US-Iran tensions.
In the Afghanistan conflict, Pakistan is collaborating with the US in the peace process to get the Taliban to talk with the Afghan government.
After mentioning climate issues and instability, the Pakistani Prime Minister emphasized harsh economic conditions in Pakistan.
“When we came to power, we inherited the worst economic crisis in our history,” Imran Khan described the situation.
For altering the negative situation into positive, the government made tough decisions. Imran Khan also stated that the public attitude, which he faced in last year, indicates that people are hurting from the economic situation.
“We have gone this tough period, and mercifully, finally, our economy stabilized. Stock market is going up, investment in Pakistan year to year has gone up,” Imran Khan informed the latest results of economic developments.
He also stated that according to the World Bank, Pakistan is growing up in easing business index. Pakistan has not concentrated on youth development, which is essential for improving the economy. Pakistan has started a program for skill development.
He has hope from this program, in which Imran Khan sees human resources as the big one.
“Pakistan is sitting on one of the precious gold and copper reserves; unfortunately, we had a few issues so these reserves remained untapped,” Pakistani PM stressed the existence of the vast amount of resources.
Pakistan has enough reserves, which can help to pay off foreign debts, which as Imran Khan said that Pakistan now focused on this direction.
“We also have very fertile agriculture lands, unfortunately, practices we have done we have not really explored this potential. Our productivity is one of the lowest.”
Imran Khan emphasized the help of China for overcoming agricultural problems by increasing productivity.
Imran Khan also stressed the strategic position of Pakistan located in the crossroads of South Asia.
“Pakistan is strategically placed probably one of the most fortunate position in the world, on the one side is China one of the fastest-growing market and of course closely allied with Pakistan. Then we have energy reserves in Central Asia and the moment there is peace in Afghanistan we then have access to all the markets in Central Asia. We have Iran. The second biggest neighbor is India. Unfortunately, and sadly, the situation between India and Pakistan is not what should have been. The moment Pakistan and India relationship becomes normal trade starts between the two countries then one can imagine the strategic location of Pakistan”
In conclusion, Imran Khan condemned what governance has done past years which didn’t let Pakistan fulfill a potential as a country has tremendous resources, young population, and strategic location. The biggest challenge is now to solve governance issues.
After the end of his speech, Imran Khan also answered the question of the anchor. While answering about the relations between FDI growth and security in Pakistan, he stated that 2019 was the safest year since 9/11. When Pakistan participated in the US war on terror, so many bomb-blasts happened and security deteriorated. The security also boosted tourism, in its turn, tourism doubled in a comparison with 2019 and 2000-2018. Pakistan is a good destination for religious and mountain tourism. Pakistan also concentrated on the improvement of tourism. Authority tries to attract investment in tourist resorts.
There is hardly terrorism in Pakistan thanks to security forces, but peace processes in Afghanistan will affect positively to Pakistan. Not only for internal security but also for opening to Central Asia.
While answering about the possibility of a deal with the Taliban, Imran Khan stated that there has to be peace, so many things happened after 2001, it is not going easy to achieve a deal but it is the only way. There is no military solution in Afghanistan
“I do not understand why countries go to resolve differences through military conflicts. The moment you start a military conflict you don’t know where it is going,” Imran Khan expressed his view on military conflict as a statement.
He also revealed that Pakistan should not have involved in the US war on terror. This step harmed Pakistan’s stability and economy. Imran Khan emphasized that possible confrontation between Iran and the US will be just a disaster not for them and Pakistan but for the completely developing world.
Imran Khan also shared his own experience in Pakistan. He said that during the 60s, Pakistan is the most exciting thing in Asia, it was the fastest-growing country, were moving fastest with industrialization. Even the industrial productivity was more than Four Asian Tigers, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Thailand. He also mentioned that Pakistan lost its way because of several reasons such as unconceived nationalization and not paying enough attention to education.
Imran Khan shared his vision and reforms, which they are planning. He also hopes the continuation of economic development by achieving stability.