A prominent Member of National Assembly from the ruling party in Pakistan, PML-N, and a federal parliamentary secretary, Muhammed Afzal Khan on Thursday said that India is not the sole focus of Pakistan anymore and that it was time to concentrate on economic revival of the country rather than have any expectations from India.
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Speaking to The Indian Express on the sidelines of a joint conference between legislators and public officials on governance and democracy, Afzal Khan said that if even small issues like Siachen Glacier and Sir Creek cannot be resolved by the two nations then not much can be expected from the relationship.
“It is a hopeless situation. I mean we would not like to continue wasting time. Our politics sustains on the back that we would like to keep the differences alive, we would not like to give them up. But we would not like to waste our time, we have already lost a lot of development indicators and we should try to do an economic revival of Pakistan,” he said.
Afzal Khan, who is also the convenor of National Assembly Parliamentary Friendship Committee Group between Pakistan and China, said that Pakistan bashing is still going on in India. “Not that it is by any design that we don’t like India, it is the hopelessness of the situation and I think that is the tragedy between our two nations. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power we thought that he is a person who would work solely on economy and other things will remain behind…it has not turned out that way,” he said.
Lt General Abdul Qayyum (retd), member of Pakistan’s Senate and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defence Production, said that initially the attitude of Modi government towards Pakistan was very hostile but situation seems to have improved after the Pathankot attack and both countries have shown maturity.
We need statesmen more than politicians, who will not see petty gains but will focus on long term gains. Why should we be hostage to few radicals, be they on either side. There has to be respect and trust for each other,” said Lt Gen Qayyum. He added that BJP should taken the initiative being in power in India and with Pakistan Army backing the Nawaz government solutions to problems can be found.
Senator Nauman Wazir, an industrialist and a member of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party said that relations between the two countries will only improve when there is enough trade between the two countries. “I have the second largest steel unit in Pakistan and have been visiting India for the last 15 years buying equipment. I make purchases for my steel industry from Mandi Gobindgarh, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad. Forget everything, start trade and business. When these relations will develop, other things will change,” he said.
The 12-member Pakistani delegation also comprised members of provincial assemblies of Pakistan’s Punjab, Sind and Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa provinces. The delegation held deliberations at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) over agriculture practices being followed in both countries.