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Peaceful Afghanistan could harness its potential as to ‘Heart of Asia’: Iftikhar

Written by The Frontier Post

LAHORE (INP): Peaceful Afghanistan could harness its potential as to “Heart of Asia” and connect to the south and central Asian regions. The President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik here on Sunday while talking to a delegation of traders led by Mian Faryad Ahmad Raza said as to, current Afghan peace process is must to make it. He said over the past forty years of conflicts, Afghanistan’s potential to contribute towards development and prosperity in Asia were unrealised.

He said unlock opportunities for all in developing infrastructure is need of hour to integrate the region and stimulate the country’s fragile economy, doing so would not only increase regional engagement but also serve their economic interests and open up access avenues to new markets. He said improved infrastructure would offer ample opportunities to trade an array of goods via land routes that are most efficient economically than air routes.

Iftikhar Ali Malik said Pakistan, too, would benefit from a peaceful Afghanistan. A direct land route to Central Asia through Afghanistan would provide Pakistan a more efficient and convenient alternative to its current routes through Iran or China. Pakistan would be able to access new markets for its goods and strengthen ties with its Muslim majority neighbors.

He said Afghanistan can leverage its strategic geographical position not only begin to rebuild its economy but also help region achieve greater prosperity. Yet that only underscores the need for countries in the region to prioritise the task of crafting consensus for peace in Afghanistan, a necessary condition to harness this untapped potential.

While concluding Iftikhar Ali Malik a veteran trade leader of South Asia said creating land corridors through Afghanistan would give the Central Asian countries access to Iran, in one direction and to Pakistan, India and greater Indo- Pacific region in another. He said regional connectivity would also help restart Afghanistan’s fractured economy most notedly by connecting it to the region’s largest markets in South Asia. He said such infrastructure would accelerate trade and the flow of people, ideas between both regions and the additional flow would stimulate innovation, job opportunities and economic growth.

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