Nation’s foreign policy will remain constrained if they keep depending on foreign aid, observes IBA Executive Director Dr Syed Akbar Zaidi.

“This is so unfortunate we still were unable to improve our economic situation. We ask Unicef to provide money to administer polio drops and also ask the United States of America and China to provide Covid-19 vaccines.”, he added.

The list of the names of the Pandora Leaks and Panama Leaks shows that Pakistan is a country that has large numbers of millionaires and billionaires but, on the other hand, the state is poor. The wealth of some people is increasing day by day but the government relies upon aid, grants, and loans.

Those nations, who are dependent on foreign aid, their foreign policy always remain constrained and the same is the case of Pakistan. Since its inception, the country has always been under the influence of foreign aid, or in simple words foreign debt. We have to increase our exports to come out of this situation on an emergency basis.

These views were expressed by the Executive Director of the Institute of Business Administration Dr Syed Akbar Zaidi. He was addressing the third Sheikh Mutahir Ahmed Memorial Lecture Series, which was organized by the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi at the Arts Auditorium on Tuesday.

The Vice Chancellor University of Karachi Professor Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi, Dean Arts and Social Sciences Professor Dr Nusrat Idress, Chairman Department IR Dr Naeem Ahmed, Dr Aamir Hameed, faculty, students, and others were also present on this occasion.

Addressing the topic of “The State We Live In: Pakistan Today”, the political-economist Dr Syed Akbar Zaidi observed that Bangladesh has overcome at their issues and now rose to unprecedented economic development and become the role model for other countries in the region.

“We continue to depend on others instead of stabilizing our economy. Unless we stabilize our economy, we will not be able to join the list of developed countries and for that, we must increase our exports. As long as we continue to depend on others, we will have to listen to them.”

While narrating the words of late Dr Mutahir Ahmed, the Executive IBA Director Dr Syed Akbar Zaidi said that if Pakistan needs to develop itself, it must have economic interdependence and friendly relationship with its neighbors and it is the only way-out.

 

 

 

Talking about CPEC, he said, it seems not to be a “Game Changer” but “Game-Over” as Pakistan has borrowed debt more from China than it has from any other country, and sooner or later there will be a time when China will ask Pakistan to return all debt.

Dr Akbar Zaidi informed the audience that emerges of the middle class is a good sign for Pakistan’s future, women participation has increased in different sectors in recent times and after the 18th Amendment, provinces have been given autonomy, and they are developing better than before.

Meanwhile, the KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi said that Pakistan is an agricultural country but still we were unable to use it for the betterment of the economy due to the instability of policies.

He stressed that civilian institutions are unfortunately unable to achieve the status they should have and that is why our foreign policies are weaker than other countries. He observed that without economic sovereignty and stability, the goals of developing the country and formulating the best foreign policy cannot be achieved.

He mentioned that the countries that depend on foreign loans and aid have to follow the policies of others which are one of the major causes of the decline of their economy. The KU VC Professor Dr Khalid Iraqi emphasizes that nations cannot survive without development. He further spoke about the national dilemma and shared that we as a nation believe in personalities instead of institutions.

Earlier, Dr Naeem Ahmed said that Pakistan with ethnic, cultural, and religious diversities has been constantly experiencing profound political and socio-economic turbulence for several decades. Along with this, Pakistan has also been witnessing the scourge of unrestrained religious extremism and terrorism, besides the increasing gap between the rich and the poor as well as the sharpened civil-military relations.

He observed that the current situation in Afghanistan, if not handled effectively, may further impact the religiopolitical and socio-economic landscape of Pakistan. The speakers while talking about the late Professor Dr Sheikh Mutahir Ahmed said that he was a man of noble character and a man who listens and tolerates the opinions of other.

 

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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