Vision with the power to change the region
In 2006 the US Geological Survey and the UK Geological Survey carried out extensive air born magnetic, gravity and hyper-spectral surveys of Afghanistan. These surveys were followed by physical spot checks of the deposit sites by teams of geologists who were provided helicopters and security by the US forces. These surveys found economically exploitable deposits of Iron ore (major deposit), aluminium, gold, silver, copper (very big deposit), zinc, mercury, lithium and rare earth (a big deposit). The maps showing the location and the extent of these deposits are available on the internet. It is now an established fact that Afghanistan has huge mineral deposits which once developed will eliminate poverty and make the country very rich.
It is apparent that Afghanistan’s President Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has full knowledge of the extent of the mineral wealth of Afghanistan and realises that to exploit these deposits it is essential for Afghanistan to develop the infrastructure consisting of railways, roads and electric transmission network, water resources and railways and modern motorway links with Pakistan and China.
The work on infrastructure and mineral development projects will create immense job opportunities in Afghanistan and in due course result in the elimination of poverty from the country
It was in quest of this objective that the Afghan president’s first port of call was China, where he was received at the airport by the Chinese president, which shows the importance of the visit. The recent visit of the Afghan president to Pakistan is obviously another step in the same direction. China is the only country today that has the financial wealth, the expertise and the will to undertake the enormous expenditure required to develop the infrastructure in Afghanistan and integrate it with the China-Pakistan economic corridor.
These development projects can only be executed if total peace is restored in Afghanistan. It is in search of peace that President Ghani has taken on board all significant representatives of stake holders who took part in the recent elections. The Taliban of Mullah Omar is the only group up in arms against the Afghan government at the moment. President Ghani’s visit to Pakistan has to be viewed within this context. Afghanistan needs full cooperation of Pakistan to eliminate insurgency in the country either by force or by accommodation and agreement with Mullah Omar.
The recent agreements with Russia and the understanding reached with USA by Pakistan will create conditions for the elimination of the activities by terrorists in Pakistan. If Pakistan and Afghanistan are able to establish peaceful conditions there is a great future for the whole region. The work on infrastructure and mineral development projects will create immense job opportunities in Afghanistan and in due course result in the elimination of poverty from the country.
The government needs to extend the hand of cooperation and friendship to the opposition and work with the objective of taking them on board. Similarly the opposition should forsake opposition for opposition’s sake and petty nit-picking
The development of the Economic Corridor between China and Pakistan and its interconnection with Afghanistan will create a large demand for materials like cement, steel and a host of raw materials and manufactured goods in Pakistan. Apart from the new jobs for the actual construction work on the Economic Corridor infrastructure there will be considerable increase in jobs. There will also be great opportunities for Pakistani banks, contractors and the service industry for taking part in the development work in Afghanistan.
Today there is a great opportunity for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan president has made history by stating that six decades of bitterness have been wiped out and we are looking at a future of understanding, friendship and cooperation. It is important that in Pakistan also all political stakeholders come on the same page. Efforts are required from all patriotic Pakistanis to strengthen the hand of the government in their efforts to eliminate terrorists from the country.
The government needs to extend the hand of cooperation and friendship to the opposition and work with the objective of taking them on board. Similarly the opposition should forsake opposition for opposition’s sake and petty nit-picking. This is the time for all patriotic Pakistanis and political parties to work for the elimination of terrorism and creating conditions for the early building of the China-Pakistan economic corridor.