Realigning Economic Trajectory

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The global economic landscape has undergone profound changes since the end of the Cold War. This successive transition posed heinous challenges; simultaneously it offered opportunities to the states around the world to refurbish policies aligned with their interests. Notwithstanding the concurrence of the US-led global order, the rise of China has revamped the dynamics in favor of states that are eager to abandon the conformist security paradigm and want to restructure imperatives of security, progress, and development. The rhetoric of shift in the foreign policy became eminently visible during the government of PTI that decisively opted economy as vertex point of Pakistan’s envisioned path of progress and prosperity for the foreseeable future. In an account of this, the idea of human security echoes a shift from a state-centric security paradigm to social welfare. Human security has several dimensions, including water security, food security, community security, health security, environmental security respectively. Pakistan’s shift has pivoted around the country becoming a regional hub of economic connectivity in South Asia and is driven by the “sincere desire to re-cast Pakistan’s image as a peace-loving and useful member of the international community.”There must be a shift from the current short-term focus of the economic stability program towards a credible long-term strategy – that may require some bridge financing to stabilize long-term economic growth. Pakistani diaspora is one of the most crucial aspects of promoting the geo-economic vision of Pakistan. Stakeholders should get the Pakistani diaspora onboard and encourage their involvement in the economy. Realizing the geo-economics paradigm also depends on the continuity and transparency of political institutions and strict practice of the separation of powers. Extremist tendencies should be mitigated through a chain of reforms in society overall. A progressive, tolerant and civilized societal behavior can lead the country towards sustainable economic development. Re-energising Afghan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and also providing access to Afghanistan to export her goods to India. Improving economic and trade environment along Pak-Afghan border by establishing border markets and development of infrastructure. Being part of energy and trade corridors binding Central. South and West Asia through land routes and inviting Afghanistan to be part of CPEC. Minimum economic dependency over the IMF, World Bank would ensure a sovereign and stable economic regime. Great power competition and policies of containment are dominant. However, Pakistan has decided not to be a part of any regional conflict and has consciously chosen only to partner for peace and development. The regulatory framework needs to be improved. Legislative and empowerment measures must be taken to strengthen existing institutions such as The Federal Board of Revenue and the Competition Commission of Pakistan. The rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan is precarious and full of complexities. Pakistan has played a constructive and robust role in bringing the parties to the table. Durable peace in Afghanistan holds the key to trade, connectivity, and economic development in the region. The transnational nature of modern technology, data, and artificial intelligence has changed the nature of war, the balance of power, economic security, and the discussion of national security policies. Hence, Pakistan should re-orient itself as a technology-friendly country, focusing on investing in artificial intelligence, technology, and internet connectivity. Economic stability and peace in the region are linked with the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India as per the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions. The onus is on India to create a conducive environment for forwarding movement. Political coalitions must be strengthened, as they are required to push reform. Any reform that is passed must be accompanied by legislative reforms by provincial governments. There must also be a clear political calculus on how to change and bring reform. All of this needs to be strategically thought out by the parliament. Infrastructure spending is designed to create construction jobs and increase productivity by enabling businesses to operate more efficiently. To ensure that opportunities reach all corners of a country and all citizens within its borders, a Territorial Development approach is necessary when designing public policy with the spatial concentration of people and firms that can be harnessed to improve living conditions everywhere, enabling the convergence of living standards across the territory. Better economic engagement through international forums/ associations such as SCO, SAARC, ASEAN, and ECO would uplift Pakistan’s economic posture.

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