Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed Pakistani diplomatic missions abroad to spare no efforts in increasing the export of Pakistani goods and attracting more foreign investments to Pakistan.He also instructed Pakistani diplomatic missions abroad to relieve the worries of potential businessmen and investors and encourage their investment to the country. At the same time, he instructed relevant government agencies to remove the restrictions withholding foreign investments in Pakistan.
Economic diplomacy is now high on the agendas of every country’s diplomatic missions around the world, which is an important part of overall diplomatic efforts. One of the major tasks of diplomatic missions is the study and research on the economic situation of the host country, establishing close contacts with relevant economic departments of the government of the host country, thus supporting the decision-making process of relevant departments and firms back in the home countries.
Since Prime Minister Imran Khan took office last August, the Pakistani government has been facing great financial pressure, especially with the nation’s foreign currency reserve being below the warning line for a long time, which is a cumulative result of various kinds of problems. In order to cope with the crises, the government under Imran Khan has taken a series of strong measures, but with yet no obvious positive results. China, Saudi Arabia and some other Middle-East countries are providing urgent assistance to the country to help Pakistan overcome the financial difficulties.
Some countries and organizations have already reacted positively regarding foreign investments, including Saudi Arabia willing to invest 9 billion US dollars into CPEC and build a major refinery in Gwadar. Representatives from Bill Gates Foundation and World Health Organization met with the Prime Minister days ago, extending a letter from Mr. Gates, expressing the interest to invest in communication and health care projects in Pakistan.I once said that the construction of CPEC and the potential of economic development shown by the project had made many countries discover the strategic value for investments including South Korea, Saudi Arabia and some other Middle-East countries.
There are two major concerns to be solved before the world’s major investors from China, Japan, South Korea and oil-producing countries in the Middle East could make decisions to invest big in Pakistan: one is whether the Pakistani government could make a set of clear policies to encourage foreign investments; the other is whether the security situation could continue improving better. In recent years, the Pakistani armed forces and security departments have carried out a series of counter-terrorism operations with obvious results. It is reported that the number of terrorist attacks has fallen between 30 to 35 percent in 2018 than the previous year.
Another point is also very important for Pakistan to attract foreign investments: the stability of political environment. In 1960s and 1970s, China experienced political turmoil and the country was caught in poverty by the time. I remember that China’s economy was only 1/9 of America’s before the reform and opening-up. After 40 years concentration on economic development, China’s economy is now nearly 70 percent of that of America. The overall improvement of China’s comprehensive national strength and the dramatic improvement of people’s lives have benefited from the wise and correct leadership of the Party, the absolute authority of the central government, the high degree of stability of the social environment and the united struggle of the whole people.
Here, I want to discuss about the relationship between democracy and centralism.China implements democratic centralism, which is a system of combining centralization on the basis of democracy with democracy under centralized guidance.The rise of a country, the revitalization of a nation and the prosperity of a society require a strong will of national unity.
Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed four major tasks for 2019, namely, fighting poverty, illiteracy, injustice and corruption.As an old friend of Pakistan, I read Pakistani media news every day, in which I have seen non-stopping disputes between some parts of Pakistan and the central government, finger-pointing among the Pakistani political parties, propping demonstrations in some parts of the country, as well as security incidents and criminal activities here and there. I could not help thinking: when could Pakistan, our friendly neighboring country, put this turmoil to an end, and when could all the people of Pakistan join hands together, contributing their every effort for a shared dream? In my opinion, major national issues can be fully discussed in Parliament, but after the formation of the resolution, all parties should form a unified will to implement it.Without a stable social political environment, you could not draw foreign investments, could not accelerate national economic developments, neither could you take millions of people out of poverty.
(Cheng Xizhong, a special commentator of China Economic Net, a visiting professor of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, a senior fellow with the Chahar Institute, a former Defense Attache in South Asian Countries, a former UN Senior Military Observer)