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Pakistan is No More Haven for Terrorists: Aizaz Chaudhry

Washington (June 06, 2017): Pakistan Ambassador to United States Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry has said that Pakistan is no more a haven for terrorists and the country economy is growing at fast pace.In an interview with Washington Times, Chaudhry said that Pakistan’s military had swept terrorists groups from the tribal areas, but the gains could be put at risk if the security situation across the border in Afghanistan was not brought under control.

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He added that Pakistan was waiting for Trump administration to clarify its strategy for the Afghanistan conflict.

“There are some perceptions which are not fully up to speed with the new reality of Pakistan, a reality that has changed only very recently,”  Chaudhry said. “We have reversed the tide of terrorism, which had come down heavy on us.”

Chaudhry said Pakistan was a strong supporter of the global Paris climate accord. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement last week.

“There are issues on which Pakistan has its own positions regardless of what the U.S. position is,” said Mr. Chaudhry, noting that Pakistan is at risk of flooding as Himalayan glaciers melt. “We supported the Paris talks. We committed to it.”

On another front, the ambassador went to lengths to credit China just as much as Washington for helping spur remarkable economic progress. Pakistan’s economy is on pace to grow at an annual 6 percent rate next year, and predictions say it could emerge among the world’s top 20 by 2030 — a dramatic rise from its current rank in the 40s.

The stock market in the predominantly Muslim nation of roughly 200 million people is booming, Mr. Chaudhry said.

He added that China had made biggest foreign investment — some $60 billion in recent years, in Pakistan in the shape of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said. China has poured money into energy projects aimed at easing Pakistan’s electricity shortages.

Over the past decade, the instability was spiked by a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks by al Qaeda and other jihadi groups on civilian and government targets. But an aggressive counter terrorism campaign launched by the Sharif government in the northwest Federally Administered Tribal Areas has sharply reduced such violence, Mr. Chaudhry said.

“The number of terrorist incidents, which used to be very high, up to 150 terrorist incidents per month on the average right up to 2014, is today down to single digits,” the ambassador said. “That has sent a very positive wave all across the country.”

Mr. Chaudhry said hopes are high that foreign investment will grow amid prospects for another smooth transition after elections next year.

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