The Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Monday offered counter-terrorism, defense and capacity building expertise to its Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies and other countries across the Middle East, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.
Sartaj Aziz (photo), Advisor on Foreign Affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during last plenary session of the 12th Manama Dialogue 2016 said the Pakistan was the first country in the region to bear the brunt of radicalization.
“Pakistan has successfully defeated the terrorism by weeding out all pockets of resistance across thousands of miles of its Northern border with Afghanistan and urban areas of the country. During the military operation in which about 3,000 security officials and 50,000 civilians lost their lives, the country dealt with the overwhelming threat of terrorism and that expertise can be helpful for our brotherly states in the GCC,” Sartaj Aziz said.
He added that the notion of Pakistan has disengaged in the region by not supporting the Saudi led coalition against Yemen was not “true”.
Pakistan never disengaged in the GCC region but the fact is that Pakistan had never refused to help brotherly States like GCC is due to its internal commitment on war against insurgency and dealing with other geo-strategic realities of the Pakistan. In such circumstances, he added, it was not possible to send boots on the ground for the Arab coalition, Sartaj Aziz added.
“We have a very strong military and security ties with the GCC countries and the military training for defense forces of the Kingdom of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would continue. We do not foresee any major change in economic ties with the GCC countries in the wake of persistent low oil prices as jobs in the Middle East are demand driven and if one sector goes dry there will be another opportunity,” Aziz noted.
Talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC, Sartaj Aziz said that the development of Gwadar will be a game changer for the region given the shorter route to China.
“The CPEC will bring prosperity to all countries of the region starting from China, Pakistan and Central Asian States and the Arab world. The new short trade link will leave a profound impact on the regional economy,” he said.
Sartaz added that CPEC will be a game changer and that it offers unique investment opportunities.
China is investing $46billion on infrastructure and energy projects in CPEC making it one of the largest investments to date on any project in recent years. This project, according to an estimate, will stir hundreds of billion dollars investments in all vital sectors of the economy across the region and will create millions of jobs as well.