IN his thought-provoking address to the joint session of Parliament on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping touched upon a number of topics and issues of concern to both Pakistan and China with special reference to further consolidation of unique relationship between the two countries. His proposition that Pakistan and China must face threats together has gone down well with people of Pakistan in the backdrop of geo-strategic environment.
However, most inspiring were his remarks that Pakistan has the necessary potential to become an Asian Tiger, a term repeatedly used by successive governments during the last two decades. It is understood that these are not off-the-cough or casual remarks as Chinese are known for saying what they feel and observe. His observation must be based on knowledge and information about relevant factors and, therefore, augurs well for the country. In fact, the plans and programmes of the present Government and solid technical and financial support being offered by Chinese, raise hope for early realization of this cherished goal. Pakistan made a good start in early 60s to become an Asian Tiger when country’s largest waterreservoirs were built, sound industrial and agricultural policies pursued and the Capital shifted to Islamabad. That was considered to be a golden period of economic development and had the tempo maintained, Pakistan would surely have attained the status of an economic tiger of Asia. However, chaos, political upheavals, interruptions and discontinuity of policies proved to be serious setbacks to realization of these dreams. Long drawn Afghan war and conflict, which continues to-date, also adversely affected Pakistan’s capabilities to progress and develop. During first few years of former President Musharraf and then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, hopes were again rekindled that Pakistan was on its path to become an Asian Tiger but derailment was again in store for the country. Now, it is quite evident that Pakistan is standing on firm footings as there is consensus on continuity of democratic process and gradually consensus is also emerging on economic direction of the country. Pakistan has necessary resources in men and material to become an Asian Tiger provided there is consistency in policies and security environment is improved.