WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s US Ambassador Masood Khan on Tuesday highlighted the pivotal role his country could play in fostering cooperation bet­ween the United States and China.

In a significant address at the Centre for Strategic and Inter­national Studies (CSIS), Mr Khan said “Pakistan should be a meeting point, not a battleground” for the two global powers, and encouraged both nations to invest in Pakistan’s areas of strength.

“We await American decisions on the restoration for Pakistan of military sales and military financing and supply of critical equipment to keep the strategic balance and fight the raging threat of terrorism,” Ambassador Khan remarked, underlining the crucial role of the US in maintaining regional stability.

Expressing optimism about the future, he stated, “Pakistan, I assure you, will have a bright future, despite our present challenges.”

The ambassador highlighted Pakistan’s economic standing, ranking as the 24th largest economy by purchasing power parity and boasting a young and tech-savvy population.

Ambassador Khan shed light on Pakistan’s commitment to economic reforms, stating, “We have decided to turn a series of recent crises into an opportunity to implement a broad range of economic and human development reforms.”

He also mentioned the World Bank’s proposed ‘Reforms for a Brighter Future’ initiative, aligning with Pakistan’s ongoing efforts.

The tech sector emerged as a focal point, said Mr Khan, revealing impressive growth. “A small $10 million venture capital funding has soared to $4 billion. E-commerce earned $6bn last year,” he said, illustrating the transformative impact of tech startups in areas like fintech, healthtech, and retail.

The ambassador said despite a demanding macroeconomic environment, Pakistan remains a hospitable destination for foreign direct investment.

He said Pakistan’s strong diaspora in the US, estimated at 1m, plays a vital role in building bridges and channelling US investments to Pakistan.

In the last fiscal year, the US-based diaspora’s investments were $3bn.

He said the newly constituted Special Investment Facilitation Council prioritises sectors like energy, agriculture, and critical minerals for fast-track foreign investment, offering incentives to investors.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2024

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