Chairman Senate Committee on Defence and Parliamentary Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed Tuesday said Pakistan would become hub of regional connectivity as CPEC would put it on a centre stage due to new energy infrastructure and trade routes.
He was addressing an international conference on “Regional Dynamics and Strategic Concerns in South Asia” organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in collaboration with Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF).
He said there was a shift in global economic power from the west to the east as China had emerged as an economic giant and now was not a regional power but a global power.
“The 21st century was an Asian century and now China fueled 30 percent of the global economic growth,” he added.
Mushahid remarked that CPEC would put Pakistan on the centre stage of a greater South Asia which included China, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asian states whose economies would be fueled by new energy transporting pipelines and ports.
He said Pakistan had been in the eye of a storm since 1979 when Russia intervened in Afghanistan and Iran went through a revolution.
He noted that Pakistan had been hosting the largest refugee population – 3.5 million people – from Afghanistan for the longest period. People of Pakistan were warmhearted and welcomed these refugees and looked after them for decades, he added.
Mushahid said people of Pakistan had fought a long war against terrorism and sacrificed 70,000 human lives including those of women, children.
Pakistanis were a resilient nation and now the country was a robust democracy with functioning institutions, he added. He said India had failed to suppress the indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris despite having a presence of 700,000 troops in the disputed territory.
Admiral Dr Jayanath Colombage, former chief of Sri Lankan Navy and Director Pathfinder Foundation, Sri Lanka, in his paper assessed socio-political trends in South Asia.
Dr Boris Volkhonsky, Associate Professor, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University,
Russia talked about Pakistan and India’s SCO membership and its impact on their future relations.