Javed Jalil Khattak, Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan
Today Pakistan celebrates its 63rd National Day. A strategically located country of 160 million people, has come a long way since independence in 1947. Today it is a thriving democracy, with a free media, an independent judiciary, functional police force, established bureaucracy and a strong military.
In a short span of two years, the democratically elected government has skillfully steered the country through numerous challenges by bringing all political forces together and developing consensus on all major issues of national interest, including measures for stabilization of the economy, independence of judiciary, provincial harmony through judicious distribution of national resources, and steps to address electricity shortages. Having consolidated transition to democracy, the government is now focused on long term strategies for all sectors of national infrastructure.
Pakistan’s large population with a growing middle class provides both a viable consumer market and a pool of well trained competent man power. Friendly business environment, good economic indicators, a growing world class infrastructure and untapped opportunities make Pakistan an attractive investment destination in diverse sectors. Rapid growth in the last few years caused the country’s power generation capacity to lag behind the demand to the tune of 3500-5000 Megawatts, creating huge investment opportunities with sound returns. The country has 41,772 MW hydel potential, vast coal reserves, as well as alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power generation. With 94.5 Million cell phone subscribers, as of January 2010, Pakistan’s communications’ sector provides attractive business incentives in a rapidly expanding field.
A moderate forward looking State with a society endowed with positive cultural and religious influences promoting strong family values, Pakistan offers equal opportunities to all its citizens to explore their full potential. Women are at liberty to choose diverse professions as they like. Women participate and excel in Pakistan’s national life- from being elected as Prime Minister (twice), to Speaker of the National Assembly, Governor of the State Bank, and Ambassadors in several foreign Capitals.
The democratic government of Pakistan was able to evolve national consensus and unite the entire nation behind its strategy to fight and eliminate the forces of terror. The government adopted the policy of combining dialogue, and development with deterrence-3Ds. Accordingly, the country’s military launched successful operations against militants in Swat, as well as in tribal areas. The conduct and outcome of these operations received wide appreciation and commendation from the international community. The successes were not without exacting a huge cost. Almost 12,000 innocent civilians perished in numerous suicide/terrorist attacks while the Armed Forces lost more then 3,000 troops battling the extremists. Pakistan’s economy has suffered losses to the tune of US$ 35 billion. The burden is not of Pakistan alone to bear. The international community needs to share it equally and support Pakistan not just through words but deeds.
On bilateral front, Pakistan enjoys traditionally cordial relations with Romania. High level contacts have been recently revived, and both countries are looking forward to deeper engagement through enhanced high level inter-action. Pakistan and Romania have a shared vision on a number of international and regional issues and cooperate closely on matters of mutual interests.