Political parties must sit together to counter US-India pressure, says Iftikhar Malik

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Vice President SAARC Chamber Iftikhar Ali Malik Thursday called upon all mainstream national political parties to set aside their political tiff for the sake of the country and sit down together to evolve a joint strategy to counter US-India diplomatic pressure on Pakistan in either way.

In a statement issued here on Thursday, he said political stability in Pakistan is vital to face internal and external threats including new US Trump administration and Indian aggressive policies towards Pakistan.

He said all the political parties should adopt unanimous approach to scale down US pressure on Pakistan and give a message to foreign powers that entire Pakistan stands united and on one page to face internal and external security challenges with stout heart and on the same time should signal to international community that Pakistan would wipe out the menace of terrorism and would not allow any terrorist group to use its soil against any country.

US President Trump announced his policy towards Afghanistan and South Asia hitting out at Pakistan for providing safe haven to what he called the “agents of chaos” that killed Americans in Afghanistan.

Iftikhar Ali Malik, who is also founder Chairman Pak US Business Council slammed the US President Donald Trump policy about alleged terrorists’ safe haven in Pakistan, said his illogical stance is singularly unhelpful in achieving the objective of strategic stability and durable peace in the South Asian region.

He said the US administration instead of imposing restrictions on Pakistan should offer fruitful help to Pakistan for revival of its economy so that we can fight more efficiently against terrorism. For this purpose, he suggested the United States and Pakistan should expand cooperation on the 2013 Joint Action Plan on Trade and Investment as the United States remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market and a significant source of foreign direct investment. He said the United States is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. He said it would be in the interest of both the countries to enhance their trade volume which had been hovering around $5 billion for the last five years.

He further said that the Trump-led US administrations should recognize the colossal sacrifices rendering to stamp out terrorism in the region as Pakistan is bearing irrecoverable heavy loss due to active participation in war on terror. “In the wake of US invasion of Afghanistan, Pakistan saw a huge influx of Afghan refugees as one of the main host countries followed by a sudden rise in the number and scale of terrorist attacks in the country. The cumulative impact of these developments adversely impacted the overall growth rate in all major sectors of the economy. Normal economic and trading activities were disrupted badly, resulting in higher costs of doing business and significant delays in meeting the export orders around the globe. As a result, Pakistani products gradually lost their market share to their competitors. Economic growth could not pick up as planned,” he pointed out.

“Pakistan and the United States have been close allies in the fight against terrorism, which is a common threat to all nations of the world adding he said as a matter of policy, Pakistan does not allow use of its territory against any country. Instead of relying on the false narrative of safe havens, the US needs to work sincerely with Pakistan to stamp out the menace of terrorism.

He said the United States also has no choice but to use Pakistani roads to resupply its troops in landlocked Afghanistan. “If Pakistan becomes an active foe, it could further destabilise Afghanistan and endanger US soldiers,” adding he said Pakistan should negotiate with US keeping Pakistan’s interests on top of agenda.