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    switzerland of the middle east

    pakistan's economic and cultural ties can extend to all centers...we need to be the switzerland of the middle east/asia.....why do we need to be part of a particular group....when we can be part of all...."Sindhu" (Land of the River Sindh), has always been the hub of entry...
    we have close ties with the arab world, Iran central asia and ofcourse india.....and we are most strategically located to take advantage of that posiiton...
    I think pakistans future lies in playing this role most efficiently.....while struggling for peace with all our neighbours....and for heavens sake drop,the islamic charade..wake up its the 21st century....let people worship whoever they choose.....state has got nothing to do with religion......

    #2
    Lysis - I agree.. Most people (Pakistani and Indian politicians) seem to always talk down Pakistan, but despite all its problems Pakistan is well-placed to become the Siwtzerland of West Asia. It is strategically positioned between four geographic regions - the Middle East, Central Asia, China and South Asia.

    Regional trade between countries in all these four surrounding regions would be made much easier (and less expensive) if they crossed through Pakistan. Hence we need a regional consortium to help fund huge road, rail and port projects in Pakistan i.e building the new port of Gwadur. I believe that if the present government stays in power for at least three years, it is much more likely that this will happen, because they have begun to tackle the basic problems in Pakistan i.e tax evasion, poverty, corruption and crime. So-called democrats will only hold Pakistan's potential back..

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      #3
      Also, with Lebanon in economic and political turmoil - originally called the Switzerland of the Middle East, we could get investment from the regions you mentioned above.
      Our number 1 aspect on investment should be the Pakistanis in the ME.
      They are huge number with a great deal in many strong financial positions.
      But a few things need to be dealt with first.
      1. We need better highways - the ones from Islamabad to Peshawar and many others look like roads from Gambia.
      And the roads in Gambia were built in 1807!!!
      The new ring road thing was excellent.
      But we need to build on the existing roads.
      The work should be fasted pace and solid.
      I believe that all the roads should be produced by foreign contracts with 49% of the work being done in cooperation with a Pakistani firm.
      Thus Pakistan laborers are used with Pakistani materials and equipment helping the economy with money multiplier coming into play.
      But the foreign company designs the road and the accounting.
      Thus there is no way or a very slim possibility of corruption and Pakistan govt money is well spent.
      Then we need to have strong rail, road and see routes to our neighbors.
      Iran is in a strong position to deal with the central Asian states.
      We need to counter that influence, but providing better facilities, cheaper taxes and other non-tangible incentives.

      Then we need to build more ports near Karachi and other areas.
      The land in Balochistan would be excellent places for increasing Balo's economy and making the Pakistani ports more hospitable compared to the UAE.
      Like the Gwadar port but they should also build on in Ormara - a very good for place to keep a low tariff hi-tech port for short stops that can counter the UAE, Mumbai and Colombo.
      Also the Karachi facilities need to be up graded greatly, with the investment coming from the Middle East - as the best bet.
      Or we could get the central Asian states to foot the bill for the upgrading in exchange for some special privileges.
      We also need to create stronger roads and routes to the china border.
      This area should be prosperous with large amounts of basic commodities, like clothing etc.
      Also how long is that afghan strip that separates Pakistan and Tajikistan?
      If we can make some agreement with the Taliban who cover that region for trade being passed through that area with high protection, if Pakistan built the roads and rail facilities.
      This would Tajikistan and Uzbekistan happier to wok through Pakistan than Iran as they have to cross the wide divide of Turkmenistan.
      With the distance shorter between home and port on the Pakistan side we could pull it off.
      But again this is a long-term project of say 5 - 10 years.
      And I doubt if any Pakistani leader has the ability to do this.
      Musharraf might if he stays in power for a significant period when all of this is happening.
      You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

      Comment


        #4
        CM - you make some very good proposals about what needs to be done to upgrade Pakistan's infrastructure.

        The narrow strip of land that separates Tajikistan and Pakistan is only 11km at its narrowest point. But if Pakistan acquired it (or agreed to some special deal with Afghanistan), Yes it would give us a border with Central Asia, BUT I don't think roads and railways can be bulit across it, because of its very extreme location.

        To your points , especially about Balochistan, I think that the whole funding structure i.e The so-called NEC award, should be changed so that federal funds are distributed to provinces (and districts) ACCORDING TO NEED, rather than the share the share of population it has. This would allow more funds to flow into Balochistan form richer parts of the federation, and so uplift the whole of Pakistan (because of Balochistan's potential).

        The CE made promises to Balochistan when he came to power, and he has kept those promises i.e more people from Balochistan inducted into the federal government, billions of rupees of more funds (for poverty alleviation and the drought) given and resolved the Nawaz-era disputes with the IPP's - so that foreign exploration of Balochistan's gas and oil deposits can continue. HE HAS DONE MORE FOR BALOCHISTAN THAN ALL PREVIOUS GOVERNMENTS PUT TOGETHER IN THE PAST 53 YEARS...

        Pakistan despite all its problems - corruption, weak economy, failure of democracy, law and order issues and extremism etc WILL come out of this present morass, and will forge ahead...

        [This message has been edited by kmailik (edited May 08, 2000).]

        [This message has been edited by kmailik (edited May 08, 2000).]

        Comment


          #5
          Balo is the most underfunded and underdeveloped part of Pakistan.
          The fact is that the people in high offices only work for their respective towns, villages, cities or provinces.
          There is no national spirit among our politians and workers.
          When asked where the person is from, the first reply is the town or city then the province and lastly the Country.
          While for Indians it is the opposite.
          They count themselves to be Indians even if they have lived in their whole life in the US.
          While most pakistanis are so pathetic that if they are in the US for 2 days they say they are American.
          Lets skip all this.
          Now on to the development of Balo.
          First Balo needs water.
          The govt could follow the Egyptian plan and build huge man made rivers and dikes which would control the water follow in Pakistan.
          So the govt could - as it is supreme authority - dig a huge trench from the portion of the Indus that enters Sindh and leaves Punjab.
          They could dig a huge one entering Balo and then separating at a certain point.
          One would divert into the Arabian sea.
          The second could move in to a huge man made lake located outside Quetta.
          This would provide a huge task for labour and would provide jobs for say around 10 to 20 thousand people.
          This is far fetched idea, but if Libya could do it on its own, why can't we.
          And again i say that 49% by pak workers.
          51% mainly accounting and mapping by a foriegn workers.
          You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

          Comment


            #6
            I think Afghanistan can be more appropriate to name and become Switzerland of Asia provided they have a little modified outlook towards life. Swiss & Afghans are geographically protected by nature, thus insurmountable for foreigners.

            ------------------
            Sarfraz Khan

            Comment


              #7
              to achieve the goal of being the trade center of the region.....we have to uplift ourselves economically alongwith physical infrastructure like roads etc........I am all for dictatorship if it means the imposition of GST and all other pricky issues that the elected government did not have the guts to handle.....
              Is the government still pursuing the motorway scheme? from Peshawar to Islamabad? What has happened to the present Motorway...the Lahore - Islamabad ? weren't they suppose to build industrial zones etc? To bring that part of the country inline with the rest?
              And Privatization......we need to let the PTCL, and other major public sector corporations like HBL and Wapda go on the stock market....Jesus man add some depth to it......and let these companies stop bleeding the economy...although..HBL and PTCL have been doing well...Is Shaukat Tareen still the president of the bank?

              Comment


                #8
                Lysis - the Lahore/Islamabad motorway is like a desert - nobody uses it...in fact people try to avoid it! When I went to Pakistan last year, most people in Pakistan (including those along the motoway route) bitterly complained about what a waste of money it was!

                Nawaz built it to make a name for himself, and to make it easier for his Raiwind/Ittefaq group interests. Any motorway should have been built from Karachi or the Makran region going through Pakistan and upwards to Central Asia. The Lahore motorway in fact makes it easier for India to export to Central Asia rather than benefit the Pakistani people, and make it easier for Central Asian states to use the Southern Pakistani ports!

                Comment


                  #9
                  We don't have many vehicles for that sort of motorways. Pak has about ±3.5 million vehicles. They even can't pay the salaries of motorways partolling police let alone the foreign investors.

                  We should have spent our meagre resourses on the construction of schools and health sectors. But understanding in general takes time and in Pakistan's case it takes extra time.

                  ------------------
                  Sarfraz Khan

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Atif Khan:
                    I think Afghanistan can be more appropriate to name and become Switzerland of Asia provided they have a little modified outlook towards life. Swiss & Afghans are geographically protected by nature, thus insurmountable for foreigners.

                    with the exception that swiss are educated, have a thriving industry and financial base, a well developed banking system.

                    geographical protection is meaningless with the type of smart weapons out there now.

                    The "potential" exists, but is far from being realistic unless massive sweeping changes are brought about in Afghanistan.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      why don't they reduce the cost of using the motorway....Its a pity that such a magnificent opportunity to develop the country is not being properly utilized

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Transportation infrastructure even in the countries like USA are very mush politicized, big corporation try to influence the design and planning phase of these projects to there benefit. Its a very normal issue for transportation infrastructure.....But please don't just go ahead and blame Nawaz for the failure of motorway, I am not defending him, rather, I am defending the Pakistani Transportation Planners and Engineers in this project. The Motor way is not a failure at all, who ever says that are basically not familiar with the highway system or are blinded because a guy who is a political rival is taking all the credit.
                        Private motor owners and leisure seekers do find this facility very expensive, but this is because the high operation cost of these facilities, but for commercial traffic it’s a blessing. The Road (GT road) which links Lahore, Gujrawanlan, Gujrat goes through the largest rural (or semi-urban) agglomeration in Pakistan. The situation on this road was such that the travel time b/w Lahore and Pindi was going up to 8 hours even with all the by passes they developed in the last ten years. These areas don’t have the physical ability to sustain any new development, that why the new direction was chosen by the engineers and planers. Since linear development is the current trend in rural Pakistan, by time, the areas around the motor way will develop. The Motorway is an addition to the national highway system in Pakistan. It takes years to develop such systems, but with economies like Pakistan it's bit longer. A ring road system is on plans since 1992 for Karachi and Lahore, but its waiting for international funding.
                        I do agree that the foreign accounting firms with little consulting input should be involved but there are some big Pakistani consulting firms that are very good in design and project management.

                        "We don't have many vehicles for that sort of motorways. Pak has about ±3.5 million vehicles. They even can't pay the salaries of motorways partolling police let alone the foreign investors ."
                        Are you suggesting we should stop the development, and by the way what kind of specials vehicles are needed for the Pakistani highways.?

                        "Lahore motorway in fact makes it easier for India to export to Central Asia rather than benefit the Pakistani people"

                        For Pakistan's sake wake up, kmailik the motor way is build for Pakistani's by Pakistani's…
                        Lysis, the cost will come down by time or may be not, high tariff "Chungi" are basically for operational cost and are not meant to come up to the actual cost of the project, if this was the case the tariff would have been 1000 or 2000 rupees per car per trip… I assume its currently 200 Rs per private car per trip and less for commercial vehicles.

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