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Judicial commission on APS carnage

The Chief Justice of Pakistan ordered constitution of judicial commission to probe the carnage in Army Public School Peshawar (APS) on December 16, 2014 where over 140 students were killed by terrorists. The Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing APS case during Supreme Court Peshawar Registry ordered that the judicial commission would submit its report within two months. The constitution of a judicial commission was a long standing demand of the bereaved families who had filed a case for it to probe into APS tragedy and make the enquiry report public.

The parents of the students martyred in terrorist attack on Army Public School (APS) had repeatedly urged the provincial government and particularly the Chief Minster for the constitution of judicial commission to conduct a thorough probe of this colossal human tragedy. But the provincial government and the chief executive of province remained adamant to accept the most genuine demand of the bereaved families. Even their protests and the cries of the mothers, who lost their children in the terrorist attack, could not move his heart to make him budge an inch toward the judicial enquiry of this incident of terrorism which shook not only the whole nation but also the international community which strongly condemned it and sympathized with the family of the victims. When the home secretary of that time made some candid remarks in a private TV channel talk show over telephone he was transferred. Hopefully the judicial commission, like the one judge judicial commission of Quetta hospital carnage, will bring to limelight all the aspects of this tragedy and exposes the lope holes in the internal security policies of the federal and provincial governments, if any.

 

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US Iran’s policy

In an arrogant display of might is right, President Donald Trump announced that the US is pulling out of the international agreement restricting Tehran’s nuclear program capability for producing nuclear bombs. He also imposed economic sanctions on Iran. The decision is likely to raise the risks in the Middle East, upset American European allies and disturb global oil supplies. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOPA) which was signed between Iran, the United States, Briton, France, Germany, China and Russia was commonly known as “Iran’s Nuclear Deal.”

The deal was negotiated under former President Obama tenure starting in 2009 and was touted by the US administration as one of the linchpins of Middle East regional security and peace. It was signed in 2015 and was appreciated by entire international community except Israel, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies. During his election campaign, Donald Trump has repeatedly called this comprehensive international agreement on Iran’s embryonic nuclear program a “horrible, horrible embarrassment “and vowed  to scrape the deal. Hence, he fulfilled his election campaign promise mainly to appease Israel.

The European allies of the United States, Briton France and Germany have regretted Donald Trump decision to withdraw from 2015 Iran’s nuclear deal. Moscow expressed deep disappointment over the US President’s decision of pulling out of this international agreement. Turkey interpreted it a decision that will cause further instability and new conflicts. As expected, Saudi Arabia and its gulf allies and the arch enemy of Islamic countries Israel warmly welcomed Trump’s decision. Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Nethenyahu appreciated the pulling out decision in televised address and lauded the US president policy about Iran and Syria. Israel has already entered militarily in the Syrian conflict.

The tragedy of the rulers of Islamic countries is that they remain deliberately or inadvertently oblivious to the existential threat toMuslim Ummah posed by Israel and its all-time mentor, the United States. A number of Middle Eastern Arab countries and Turkey took side with the United States and its West European allies in the destruction of Iraq. The same mistake is being repeated in the current Syrian crises. The erosion of the authority of Damascus sitting regime has given impetus to Kurd insurgency in Turkey, which is also enduring the burden of millions of Syrian war refugees. American troops are providing support to Peshmarga Kurd Militia and France is backing the PKK and PYD rebels in Syria to destabalise the Kurd areas in Turkey. Unfortunately the leaders of the Islamic countries do not visualize the grand design of their enemies to destroy them either by military invasion or implode them from within. The euphoria over the US Iran’s policy in some Islamic countries does not reflect rationality.

 

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Violation of WTO rules

Pakistan and China reached an agreement to initiate a process of digital trade data exchange but the later backed out of it. Pakistan’s decision to postpone signing of revised Free Trade Agreement (FTA-II) has now hit its plan to digitally exchange trade data to capture the real value of imports from neighboring country China for augmenting its revenue from import duty. Pakistani authorities believe that by delaying the operationalisation of electronic trade data exchange Beijing is retaliating against Islamabad’s decision to postpone the signing of FTA-II.

The delay in the operationalisation of electronic trade data exchange has undermined the Custom authorities’ plan to stop the understatement of the value of goods imported from China. They think that imports from China are undervalued by at least $ 4 billion which is adversely affecting its revenues. Pakistan’s records shows that imports from China are around $ 10 billion but Chinese publication put the figure at $14 billion a year. At times Chinese exporters did overstate the value of their goods to get higher exports rebate from the government.

The original deadline to make the effective the system of digital trade data exchange operational was April 1, which was extended to April 30. Member Customs of Federal Board of revenue informed the Senate Standing Committee that electronic trade data exchange could not start even on the second deadline set for this purpose. To address the ticklish issue of under-invoicing of imports Pakistan and China reached an agreement to initiate a process of digital trade data exchange. But the agreement is not being honored. This reveals how unreliable trade partner Chinese are?

On the other hand the European Union are cognizant of the financial difficulties of Pakistan and have extended the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus tariff concession for two year on exports from Pakistan to their market duty free. Pakistan exports to China could not grow because of tariff and non-tariff barriers slapped on them by the government of China.

As an arm-twisting tactics, China is pressing hard for zero duty on 75 percent of import tariff lines. Pakistani stakeholders genuinely put up fierce resistance after the commerce ministry revealed the irrational demand made in the Chinese wish list of its exports to Pakistan. Under the first phase of FTA, Pakistan gave duty concessions on 35 percent of import tariff lines, which led huge influx of Chinese goods and many local industries could not survive. If the demand of zero duty concession on 75 percent import tariff lines is conceded, then Pakistan will become a trading nation instead of moving fast on the path of industrialization.

In addition to under-invoicing and export of goods on dumping price from China, smuggling of a number of Chinese products is another challenge for the economy of Pakistan. The country is losing a staggering a $ 2.63 billion amount of revenue every year due to smuggling of just 11 goods that are making their way through porous border, more alarmingly through containerized cargo with the full support of state machinery. The smuggled items include, high speed diesel, vehicles, auto parts, tyres, mobile phones, television sets, plastic, steel sheets, garments, cigarettes and tea. Pakistan sustained a loss of $1.1 billion due to smuggling of mobile phones alone.

The unfair play in bilateral trade pushed the United States in a trade war with China and has caused a strong wave of protectionism in Europe. The World Trade Organization (WTO) rules allow an importing country to impose countervailing duties on the goods of a country that indulges in under-invoicing and dumping price practices of its exports. Will the government show some spine to exercise this option under the free trade regime of WTO?

 

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A negative tendency

The assassination attempt on the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in his home town constituency during a corner meeting at the hand of 23 year old man indicates the emergence of a negative tendency in the country’s political culture at a time when general election are just few months away. The incident should be taken seriously by the leadership of all political parties and the blame game started by PML-N leaders for deriving political mileage from it will be counter productive.

The deputy commissioner Narowal district has confirmed in his report sent to Chief Secretary Punjab that the would-be assassin of Interior Minister is affiliated with a religious organization Tehrik-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA). The attacker shot at the minster from a distance of 15 yards which reveals loopholes in the security arrangements made for him notwithstanding the squads of Rangers, Frontier Constabulary and Elite Force of Punjab Police. It is amazing that the both the Federal and Punjab governments has not released the information about the bullet stuck in the belly of the Interior Minister. The people were repeatedly told that the fire of the attacker has hit the right arm of the Minster and his condition is stable. The next day he underwent two surgeries at the Services Hospital Lahore. The doctors removed a bullet from his abdomen, emplaced plates in his fractured arm and he was moved to intensive care unit.

Ironically, the PML-N leadership is using this deplorable and alarming incident for political motives and maligning a state institution. Talking to media, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif referred to the payment of travelling expenses to TLYRA protesters for the return journey from Faizabad sit-in. He questioned the reasons behind the payment and said, “This is what happens when Rs. 1000 are distributed among such people.”The fact of the matter is that it was Director General Punjab Rangers who distributed the envelopes containing Rs. 1000 for which necessary approval of the federal government must had been obtained. The administrative and financial control of Rangers is with the Ministry of Interior and any such payment cannot be disbursed without the approval of principal accounting officer of this ministry. The baseless statement of the former Prime Minister is a futile attempt to hoodwink the public opinion. It does not serve the intended political purpose rather it will bring a misnomer for the government of his party.

Stepping in the shoes of her leader, PML-N female member Punjab assembly Hina Pervaiz Butt has moved a resolution condemning the attack on the Interior Minister and describing it a tactics to stop the party from running an effective election campaign. The leadership of the party still does not realize that it was their deliberate blunder of digging out a once and for all settled issue that ignited the TLYRA protest initially in Lahore. The Chief Minster Punjab Shabaz Sharif purposely did not resolve it by holding dialogue with the protesters’ leadership and let them to march on the federal capital Islamabad. The federal government belatedly resorted to the use of force and then conceded the demands of TLYRA. The assassination attempt on the Interior Minster is a very serious matter which needs a thorough deliberation collectively by all poetical parties; mudslinging will not stop the rise of negative tendency in the prevailing political environment.

 

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In search of dignity!

The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while addressing a function at Pasroor near Sialkot, has complained against the lack of respect for politicians. He said that a politician deserves as much respect as a Judge and General receives. There are no two opinions about this argument but it is the demeanor, character, integrity, honesty, attitude towards people and their problems, good governance, respect for state’s institutions, abidance by rule of law and fundamental of transparency  and principled stand on national interest that earn respect for a politician. The political breed from 1985 till date should evaluate their performance on this touch stone.

After the election and oath taking of KP Assembly in 2002, former Prime Minister Mir Zafar ullah Jamali, while speaking at Iftar dinner at Governors’ House Peshawar, gave one liner advice to elected representatives of the people. He said, “Learn to give respect and earn respect.” History is replete with numerous examples of leaders, both elected and non elected, who enjoyed tremendous respect at home and abroad because of their national building spirit, impeccable integrity and their yearning to enable the people of their countries to be treated with dignity abroad. President Ayub Khan was not an elected leader but when he visited the United States in 1961, he was very warmly received by at the airport by President Jhon F Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Jhonson and Secretary of State David Dean Rusk. Outside the airport he was jubilantly greeted by the people of the United States who were standing on both sides of the road. The reason was that Ayub Khan was an honest ruler and he strived hard to make his country economically strong and enable its people to enjoy dignity abroad.

There are other examples of the recent past. When Prime Minster Muhammad Khan Junejo (late) visited the United States in 1986, he was received at the airport by the Secretary of State George Shultz. He was elected leader of the house by National Assembly that came into being by party less polls. He was respected at home and abroad by virtue of his spotless character. General Musharraf was a non-elected leader but the senior cabinet members of President Bush used to welcome him at the airport. Assitant Secretary of State Christina Rocca had even given him protocol in his private engagements. The reason was obvious that there were no corruption scandals against him. On the contrary, the present elected Prime Minister was thoroughly body searched at the airport in his recent private visit of the United States. In sharp contrast, when the then Chief of Army Staff General visited the United States, he was received by the military leadership of the host country and driven out of airport with due protocol.

The architect of modern Malaysia, Dr.Mahatir Muhammad earned respect for himself, his country and its people by virtue of his integrity and national building capabilities. Malaysia was economically far behind Pakistan in the decade of 1960s. He made his country an industrial giant through heavily investing in human resource development. Universities of Malaya, Kualalampur and some other Malaysian educational institutions are included in the top 100 universities of the world. None of the Pakistani universities are included even in the Asian ranking. He had the courage to take on Briton, revoked the purchase agreement of Jaguar fighter aircrafts and cancelled the contract of British Construction Company when an article with malicious contents appeared in a UK newspaper. After good governance of 25 years, Dr. Mahatir Muhammad had retired from active politics about 10 years ago. But the Malaysian opposition parties brought him back now to active politics and have put him up their candidate for the slot of Prime Minister. It is time that our political elite emulate the examples of world leaders who enjoy respect at home and abroad due to their honesty, love for their country and its people by setting glaring precedents of abiding rule of law and transparency which is non-existent in the LNG deal with Qatar and agreements made with China in CPEC related projects. The political leaders of other developing countries do not keep ‘Aqama’residency visa and work permits for of other countries for drawing salary, while holding public office or being members of parliament in their own countries. This is below dignity of a political leader.

 

 

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Optimal power mix     

Abandoning the construction of mega hydropower projects like Kalabagh dam, medium and small hydropower projects in the decade of 1970s reduced the percentage of inexpensive electivity to 30 percent in the power mix. It also caused the complex and lingering problems of power outages and piling up of circular debt and water shortages. From 1990 to 2016, the three PML-N governments spent trillions of rupees on the less productive and subsidized projects including motorways, metro bus and, Lahore and extremely health hazardous and imported coal fired thermal power plants. The result is that power outages still haunt the federal government.

Now it appears that the government is taking decisions in the right direction. National water policy has been approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC), however a national energy policy is yet to come. But Diyamer Basha dam of 4600 megawatts and Monda dam 800 megawatts projects have got ECNEC approval. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday visited the Karot Hydro power project being built on River Khelum. The project would add 720 megawatts to the national grid. It is the fourth among the five cascade hydropower projects being developed on this river. The project would be completed within 60 months. Its structural layout includes rock filled dam, spillways, powerhouse, diversion tunnels, headrace power tunnels and tailrace tunnel. The project is being developed on build-own-operate-transfer basis with five years construction period and 30 years concession period.

While the federal government has already announced that it has overcome electricity shortage, power load shedding has returned with a bang. For the power shortage, which exceeds 5000 megawatts, the energy ministry’s power division that looks after the national grid and distribution system attributed the revival of power outages to the unavailability of Balloki, Bhikki, Haveli Bahdurshah power plants, Neelum Jhelum and other hydropower stations. Officials in the petroleum division of the ministry of energy say that is just the beginning as furnace oil stock are at very low level and the oil shipment may reach very late due to the belated permission given by the Prime Minister for the import of furnace oil. Even the arrival of ships loaded with furnace oil will not immediately solve the problem of power outages. The entire supply chain from berthing to the product offloading, pumping to the pipelines or tankers and transportation to power houses require at least 15 days.

The Prime Minister delayed the permission for the import of furnace oil to replenish its depleting stock merely because he wanted to promote power production with liquefied natural gas (LNG) being imported from Qatar. This ill conceived move backfired, dissolving in thin air the government often repeated claim to have added 10600 megawatts additional power to distribution system. The ongoing hydropower projects will take five years for completion and the new mega project will take 15 year to be made operational. The short term solution lies in the construction of 2100 megawatts small hydro power stations 50- 100 megawatts in KP and wind mills to substantially reduce the lingering problem of load shedding and lower the power tariff. The small hydro power projects of KP await clearance from the CDWP of Planning Commission and subsequent ECNEC approval.

 

 

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Rhetoric versus pragmatism

In a major blow to timely roll out the second phase of CPEC, special regions and finances, three provinces refused to finance the irrational incentives asked by China for the relocation of its dying industries to the Special economic zones. Only one province, KP agreed to provide land on throwaway price for the special economic zone in the Nowshera district. Punjab Sindh and Baluchistan have refused to provide subsided loan and land on concessionary terms to develop the planned and prioritized special economic zones of CPEC. The Baluchistan Development Authority informed the center those there is no federal government land available in Gawadar to set up the federally owned special economic zone.
It is amazing that without proper and detailed homework the federal government agreed the special incentive package with China for relocation of industries of China and dreams about investment in the special economic zones under the CPEC framework. The package is primarily aimed at those Chinese industrial units which were declared sunset industries by Beijing to be relocated to Pakistan, about which the government claimed to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs. But ironically, the government did not put in place strategies and plan for skill development of working force to handle and operate the Chinese technology in the steel, plastic and other industries which were to be relocated to special economic zones. The CPEC Center of excellence has remained confined to holding seminars, workshops and roundtable conference. The parliament has not been informed that which environmental laws will be applicable to these environment polluting industries, the international laws, the Chinese laws or Pakistani laws. It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan is signatory of the Paris Agreement of Climate Change.
Planning minister told the 53 rd monthly review meeting on CPEC that initially the provincial governments agreed to bear the cost of subsidy for special initiative package but now some provinces have backed out. But he did not disclose the reason that why the province of Punjab, to which most of the benefits of CPEC will accrue, has backtracked. He said that the Board of Investment would now hold meeting with the finance ministry to review the possibility whether the federal government can pick the cost. The Planning Minister belatedly admitted the well known fact that the provision of land for industrial estates is a provincial subject and the federal government can not dictate the terms.
The KP government is not providing any new land on subsidized rate for the establishment of special economic zone. In fact it is the land comprising 98 industrial plots which were developed by the Sarhad Development Authority (SDA) for Risalpur Exports Processing Zones in President Musharraf era. SDA was envisioned and created by the then industries minister in President Ayub Khan Cabinet in 1973 when he was KP finance minister in KP government. This organization successfully facilitated the establishment of a number of industrial estates but was punished and disbanded by the present provincial government for no cogent reasons except the animosity of two industrialist PTI law makers of the upper house of the parliament.
CPEC is so far limited to a few roads and three environment polluting coal-based thermal power plants, having no carbon scrubbles technology to reduce the contents of poisonous gas carbon mono oxide emission in the air which cause diseases like Asthma and Cancer.
A debt riddled country can not afford the irrational incentive package that China slapped on Pakistan in sixth Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of CPEC. The first incentive demanded was that Pakistan will pick 50 percent of mark-up cost of loans that Chinese investors will take for investment in the special economic zones. In the second incentive, Pakistan was supposed to pick 50 percent of subsidy cost on inland transportation of plants and machinery for installation and development in the economic zones. In the third incentive, the respective provincial governments were asked to provide plots by taking half of the payment in advance and the remaining in four biennial installments.
Another big causality in the CPEC framework is the up gradation project of Pakistan Railway track from Karachi to Peshawar. The progress on the multi-billion dollars mainline ML-1 project has remained at standstill Media reports suggests the cost estimates worked out by China are on a very high side against the ones calculated by Pakistan. But the federal minister Ahsan Iqbal is telling a different story in his usual vague and verbose style. He said Pakistan has requested China to share terms of loans that Beijing is expected to provide. But the reality is that Pakistan delayed the approval of mainline ML-1 project after Beijing tagged the phase-1 of the scheme at $ 4 billion, which was $ 627 million higher than the Pakistan’s estimates. The difference over the cost and scope of ML-1 project of Pakistan Railway offended China to block the approval of loans for the project. Pakistan’s government must learn a lesson from the bitter experience of Srilanka who surrendered a seaport and fertile agriculture land to China for its failure to return the most expensive Chinese loans.

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Actions, not hollow promises

In his speech in the national Assembly, when there were less than 20 lawmakers of 342 members house, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi promised that FATA reforms for mainstreaming of tribal areas will be enforced in the remaining tenure of current government. But he did not categorically said that, as an integral part of these reforms package, tribal areas will be merged with KP and due representation to its people shall be given in the Provincial Assembly by electing their representatives in the upcoming general elections. However, he announced that local bodies’ elections will be held in FATA before October.

The Prime Minster also said that modalities for implementing these reforms will be discussed with the representatives of political parties and other stakeholders. Strange enough, that the PML-N led federal government could not work out the modalities of FATA reforms during the past few years when all the political parties are vociferously demanding the fast track implementation of these reforms including FATA merger with KP. But reforms package has been deliberately made hostage to the whims of the leadership s of JUI (F) and Pk MAP who want the perpetuation of statuesque to keep the patriotic tribesmen as third grade citizens by depriving them from their fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan.

Referring to the meeting of implementation committee on FATA reforms, which he chaired his arrival to the National Assembly, the Prime Minster stated that the government would implement the reforms in an effort to bring tribal areas at par with other parts of the country through development schemes. He said, the parliament and all other stakeholders are committed to implementing FATA reforms. Everyone wants to bring it into the national mainstream. But thorough discussion was needed on reforms. The majority of political parties that have representation in the parliament, and which demand implementation of reforms, FATA members of Parliament and of course millions of tribal people are the genuine stakeholders. What does the phraseology of other stakeholders signify? Does it mean the leaderships of JUI (F) and Pk MAP who are bent upon torpedoing the FATA reforms? Pk MAP has no vote bank in tribal areas. Yes the former disqualified Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif has made Mahmood Khan Achakzai as his ideological mentor. But he should have no say in the implementation of FATA reforms.

The slogan of bringing tribal areas at par with other parts of the country through development schemes has become a cliché because it has been used over and over by successive KP Governors and FATA bureaucracy and media managers of Governors’ House during the last 30 years. The bitter reality is that bulk of development funds allocated in ADPs is lapsed and misappropriated every year and hence no positive impact on life of tribesmen. A front page news story in a leading Urdu daily newspaper reveals that the federal government has withheld Rs. 10 billion FATA developments funds and out Rs. 24 billion ADP allocations Rs. 11 billion have been released whereas FATA Secretariat and its subordinate line departments have spent R.8 billion on the schemes peoples’ uplift. The livestock department has utilized 30 percent of the released money; housing department 22 percent; public health engineering 21 percent; and health department 21 percent. This is the pathetic state of affairs of FATA mainstreaming through development schemes. The reforms package needs implementation in totality without further delay and piecemeal strategy will be counterproductive.

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Plight of Hazara Community

The Hazara community ended their days long protest in Quetta after meeting with the Chief of Army of Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The beleaguered community was protesting against the continued attacks on Hazars, the most recent being the killing of two community members on Saturday. General Bajwa, while meeting with the community members assured that those who have targeted the community will suffers twice as much.
As the Hazara community continues to face the violent attacks in the country, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar took a Sou motu notice of continued attacks on the community. Fixing the hearing for Mat 11, at the Quetta Supreme Court Registry, the Chief Justice sought reports from concerned authorities, including the interior ministry, the provincial government and Baluchistan Levies. The top Judge lamented that the members of the community are not even being provided opportunities for higher education. “They can not go to schools or hospitals. Are they not part of Pakistan? the Chief Justice asked.
It is very much in the knowledge of both the federal and provincial governments which banned organizations are almost regularly killing the Hazars in target killings and suicide bomb blasts. A systematic ethnic cleansing of this community is being done on sectarian basis. They are compelled to leave the country. The government also knows that terrorists of banned outfits from the Southern Punjab and Interior Sindh sneak into the vulnerable Baluchistan province to target Hazara Shia community. But the governments of Punjab and Sindh do not want an all-out clean up operation against Lej and other banned organization and the blood of innocent people is constantly being spelt. It is the expediency of ruling political elite the cost of which is being paid by the people. It is the duty of the government to provide protection to itscitizens.

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Promoting trade in FATA

The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated a market of 1344 shops with modern civic facilities including parks, car parking, water supply network and solar power system in Miramshah, the Headquarter of North Waziristan, on Monday. The modern trade complex was built by Pak Army. The Prime Minister also inaugurated the projects of National Logistic Cell Terminal and Bus Terminal to connect Ghulam Khan Kali trade route with CPEC via Dera Ismail Khan. Addressing tribal elders on this occasion, he assured the mainstreaming of FATA by fully implementing its reforms Package. He said that Miramshah will serve as entry gate to Central Asia.

The shopping centre with modern civic amenities in the Agency Headquarter of North Waziristan will give impetus to business activities in this agency of the tribal belt It will also enable the traders of the area to exports Pakistani goods to the adjacent provinces of Afghanistan including Khost, Paktia and Paktika. It will partially compensate the loss of export market to China and India in the central provinces of Afghanistan.

Gaining access to the export market of central Asian States has been a verbal favorite theme of PML-N governments since 1991. The visionary and scholar federal minster of economic affairs in the first Nawaz Sharif government, Sardar Asif Ahmad Ali made a number of interactive tours of Central Asian states along with the representatives of trade bodies and explored markets for goods and services of Pakistan. But as usual the PML-N leadership did not show seriousness to take practical steps in the form of opening braches of Pakistan Banks there and encourage the entry of banks from Central Asia into Pakistan to boost bilateral trade which the eminent economists suggested in the government sponsored seminars with a salient proposal of open ended exchange policy.

There is no denying the fact that instability in Afghanistan was a major stumbling block in boosting bilateral trade with the Central Asian States but the transit of Iran could have been used in the decade of 1990s for access to the market of these states. The entry gates of Ghulam Khan Kali, Angoor Adda and Torkham for trade with Central Asia will not be greatly beneficial till such time peace and stability returns to Afghanistan, the chances of which seem remote in the near future. A window of opportunity did come in early 1992 when the then Afghan President Dr. Najeeb Ullah was making hectic efforts for a negotiated settlement with the leadership of Afghan Tanzimat living in Pakistan. But at that time Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif failed to take a wise foreign policy decision to buttress the efforts of United Nations’ representative on Afghanistan Benon Sewan. The government in Kabul collapsed and fratricidal war ensued among the Afghan Warlords which ultimately culminated in the emergence of Afghan Taliban.

India has expanded its trade with Central Asia via Iran and will be using the Chahbahar port forfurther increasing the quantum of its exports. The successive governments particularly the governments of the two mainstream political parties did nothing in their three tenures of governments to give incentives to the entrepreneurial class for the pursuit and usage of latest technologies in their industries and floating foreign markets ‘oriented innovations. Consequently, Pakistani industry is on second generation technology and is no longer competitive and our export goods can not compete with identical products from India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, not to speak of China. The present government has pushed the country to the brink of becoming a trading nation because of free trade and preferential trade agreements with three countries, largely loaded against the business interest of Pakistan.

Mainstreaming of FATA has been a slogan of a number of KP Governors in tribal areas ADP meetings and presentations of bureaucrats but the issue remained on the backburner and it is still there. The tenure of the incumbent government expires on 31st May but it is not willing to pass legislation from the parliament for the merger of tribal areas with KP in accordance with aspirations of tribesmen. Appeasing the leadership of JUI (F) and PK MAP at the cost millions of tribal people is against the principles of equity and social justice.