There are no reservations on the China-Pakistan Corridor project, we want to see Pakistan as a safe, prosperous and democratic country: US Consul General

There are no reservations on the China-Pakistan Corridor project, making Pakistan safe, prosperous and…

(Daily Pakistan Exclusive)

Lahore (Interview: Umar Shami, Usman Shami) US Consul General Harkin Ryder has said that the US views the China Pakistan Economic Corridor in a positive way and considers that it is a fulfillment of its own efforts. We want to see Pakistan as a safe, economically stable and democratically developed country. Nothing is being done under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project which is at the expense of our efforts. What we are doing is for the completion of this project. In a special interview with “Pakistan” daily, he said that America has built 1,000 km of roads in FATA. In principle, we believe that the corridor project is a good opportunity for Pakistan. Development takes time.

The US Consul General expressed confidence about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and said, “We are very satisfied with the steps taken by Pakistan to safeguard its nuclear weapons.” We encourage Pakistan to be responsible in the same way as other nuclear powers. He said that America views its relations with India and Pakistan independently. If both countries want and accept its role, America can play its role in settling the disputes between them. The progress made by the Pakistani society and government in the last two years is very encouraging. The people of Pakistan have performed well not only in terms of security but also in dealing with economic, political and governance challenges. This situation has also started to be noticed by the international community, that is why a positive impression about Pakistan has started to emerge in the international press.

Zachary V Harkin-Ryder opined that success stories from Pakistan have not been given much prominence in the international press, but now the international press has begun to give space to Pakistan’s positives. Recently “New York Times” published a very encouraging news about the improving security situation in Pakistan while “Wall Street Journal” declared Pakistan as a potential destination for investment.

Commenting on the importance of democratic traditions and the role of democratic institutions in fighting extremism, the American Consul General said that democracy needs many things for success, but the most important thing is time. Time becomes easier for political parties, governments and all people in various ways. The transition of power in Pakistan in 2013 from one democratic government to another is indeed significant and all observers agree that it is time to leverage democracy to overcome many social challenges. Duration is required with continuity.

Regarding the recent visits of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the United States, Harkin Ryder said that it is noteworthy that Pakistan and the United States have been close allies since the 1950s, although tensions sometimes arose between them. As anyone in the world can come between two countries, however, the relationship between Pakistan and America has progressed year after year, which shows the durability of the relationship. During Nawaz Sharif’s visit to America, the security situation as well as economic and trade relations were also discussed and one of his important engagements was to visit the American Chamber of Commerce. The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is five billion dollars annually and there is scope for significant growth.

The American Consul General revealed that the United States has given civil and military aid of thirty billion dollars to Pakistan since 2001, which includes the United States’ share in the Coalition Support Fund. The ultimate goal of the assistance is to make Pakistan a democratically stable and economically prosperous country. About one hundred and twenty four megawatts of electricity is being saved by the measures and efforts taken with the help of the American government. He said that USAID has installed automatic meter reading devices at all grid stations across Pakistan and constructed computerized control rooms for distribution companies. Earlier, staff had to go to grid stations on motorcycles to take readings. By the time the distribution company gets this information, it is out of date, leading to unscheduled load shedding. Now the staff has got the ability to monitor the load in time at the grid stations itself. Improved grid management systems have saved distribution companies $157 million. USAID has also presented a comprehensive assessment of Pakistan’s National Grid to the government, which can be used in planning for the upgrading of existing power projects and installation of new plants.

Harkin Ryder said that USAID has trained 56,975 existing teachers and administrators through three-month refresher courses in the field of education, while 7,000 new teachers have also been trained by providing scholarships. 1,000 government schools have been renovated or reconstructed, benefiting 300,000 students. Seventeen faculties have also been built in universities across the country. Five of them are in Punjab, including Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan, Fatima Jinnah College Lahore, University of Education Lahore, Punjab University Lahore and Islamia College Bahawalpur. Twelve thousand scholarships have been awarded to Pakistani students including the Fulbright Scholar Program in the last five years. A new hostel for female students has also been constructed in FC College Lahore, which will have the capacity to accommodate 384 female students.

The American Consul General was asked whether the above actions are creating goodwill among the people of Pakistan, he said that in the future, when people will see the history of Pakistan-US relations, they will know that the US has made these relations. Do what you can to get ahead and they will appreciate it. The American government and people know and appreciate Pakistan’s significant sacrifices in the war against terrorism. The western media does not give space to many positive things, sometimes including what is being said in Pakistan and what is being done by us. As diplomats, we work hard to bridge this gap.

Regarding the future of Afghanistan, Harkin Rider said that he sees an economically integrated and peaceful region in the future. You have constructive people on both sides of the border – there is a clear desire on all sides to come together on some broad level – those working in this regard are doing their job.

The US Consul General praised Pakistan for its success in the war against terrorism, especially the results of Operation Zarb Azab, but said that many measures are needed to counter violent extremism and the National Action Plan is a good attempt to deal with this menace. shows. Regarding the presence of Daesh in the region, Harkin Rider opined that there are militant groups and extremist elements in the region that appear to be representative of Daesh in terms of their activities. The US takes this threat seriously. US efforts to combat violent extremism are consistent with those of most countries. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and the many attacks in Pakistan over the years show that this is not just an American problem, but a collective problem.

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