For economic recovery, the direct flights should be started quickly-Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari

  • July 05, 2023
President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari has said that Pakistan is lagging far behind the world in the race of development, which is mainly due to the lack of connectivity at the regional and international level. Pakistan needs to be connected to the region through rail, road and direct air links. PIA has failed to connect Pakistan to the world, the government should announce a fast-track privatization program without wasting more money and capital. Despite its effective presence in various regional and international blocs, Pakistan has not yet been able to benefit at the commercial level. Work is required on an emergency basis to start direct flights.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, he said that Pakistan has lagged far behind in the race of development at which the world is moving forward. In today’s world, no country can develop alone, but now interests can be protected through blocs and regions and this is the main source of economic development. Regions like the European Union and ASEAN are great examples in this regard. These regions have accelerated economic growth by improving connectivity through rail, direct air links and road.

He said that Pakistan is an important member of several regional and international groups including SAARC, D-8, ECO, SCO, and OIC. Due to the lack of railway, road and direct air links of Pakistan with all these countries, despite political activity, Pakistan has not been able to benefit from these groups at the commercial level. He said that in order to advance the current debt-ridden economy of Pakistan, the series of direct flights with different countries of the world should be carried forward rapidly.

Recently, Ethiopia has started a series of direct flights Similarly, Kazakhstan, an important country in Central Asia, is also starting direct flights from July 8. This is important news for Pakistan’s regional connectivity. He has suggested that Aviation Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique along with Islamabad Chamber organize an international conference regarding direct flights in which all the major public and private airlines of the world are invited. He said that many countries of the world are interested in starting direct flights with Pakistan, the government should provide them facilities and fast track process should be launched in this regard.

He said that national airlines of different countries around the world are the most important source of connectivity but PIA has isolated Pakistan from the world. Without wasting more time and capital on PIA, it should be immediately privatized and its management should be handed over to a Pakistani businessman. He said that Pakistan’s railway system has become very rotten. The railway should be developed on modern lines and extended to the neighboring countries. In which the first priority may be Afghanistan, Central Asia, Iran and China.

He said that the current ruling party PML-N has paid special attention to the Motorway network in each of its terms, but now this project should be used for the promotion of mutual trade. For which their scope needs to be extended to the neighboring countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Turkey. Pakistan has already established a strong connection with China through CPEC. He said that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s declaration yesterday also talked about improving regional connectivity, which is welcome. Pakistan should play a proactive role in implementing this point of the declaration.