Pakistani nation unity through Zarb e Azb is remarkable: US Diplomat
LAHORE (APP): The Outgoing US Consul General to Lahore Zachary Harkenrider has acclaimed that Pakistan has made advances in combating terrorism in the country and overcoming violence through national unity and cohesion.
Harkenrider is appreciative of the national unity and "determination of Pakistanis to rid the country of the ills of militancy through Zarb e Azb and other operations", acknowledging nation's will to face all challenges and overcome them is remarkable.
In a write-up by the diplomat which was shared with the media, US Consul general to Lahore reminisces on his 3 year diplomatic tenure in Pakistan and observes how the country of his sojourn has made great leaps towards tangible economic growth and reliable energy sector.
The US diplomat gives an appraisal of the current situation in the energy, economic growth and security besides offering advice to improve the pace of country's road to progress.
The diplomat wrote Pakistan has been moving in the right direction in the energy and economic growth areas while trends in security, education, entrepreneurship and social solidarity are positive over the past three years' time.
The US Consul General to Lahore Harkenrider disagrees with the foreign perception and local reports of a country marred by insurgency, terrorism and turmoil and divisive politics but he relies on the success stories he has been a part of during his three years diplomatic posting in Pakistan since July 2013 and believes Pakistan is a success story.
He enumerates the powerful thirst for education and the rise of private and public sector schools like "Danesh" and the universities in the recent years, reiterating the US government's commitment to support education sector in the country so that "tomorrow's Pakistani student could get great education".
In the energy sector, the US diplomat sees Pakistan would be self-sufficient in energy needs through the four thermal power plants as these will be operational by December 2017. He said the three out of four thermal power plants, of 3600 MW capacity, have been built with the US assistance while the US government also assisted Punjab government in adding 2300 MW to the national grid and save millions of dollars by minimizing line losses.
Harkenrider said the US businesses and investments have created 60,000 jobs in Pakistan and appreciated Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif for expanding vocational training institutes which would make 21st century workforce available.
He also expressed approbation for the government's efforts to broaden tax revenue, adding that increase in the tax net from 11.3 percent to 16.72 (that of India's) would result in additional revenue of 50 billion dollars annually, thus providing more money for schools, health, mass transit and clean drinking water.
In his view, Pakistan stands apart from other country in social solidarity and overty is least visible as in other parts of the region due to the community-based philanthropists and Pakistanis out to help each other. He said the US also USAID has also been contributing in these efforts through funding for small to medium sized community developed self-help projects.
The Outgoing diplomat believes self-sufficiency in the energy sector and economic growth would lure more foreign direct investments to the GDP while the step introduced by the Punjab government and the federal government regarding the protection of intellectual property laws, more predictable and equitable taxation laws, regulatory and legal enforcement with respect to cybercrimes, drug pricing and investment dispute resolution would boost investor confidence and Pakistan Stock Exchange would continue to lead the Asian stock markets as it did in 2016.
The US diplomat opines that US, alongside China, would serve as major partner to realize Pakistan's dream of progress and prosperity.