By Asghar Ali Mubarak
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said Pakistan Navy played a vital role in defending the maritime frontiers as well as securing the economic interests of the country by providing security to Gwadar Port and CPEC sea routes.
The President stated in a meeting with the newly appointed Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, who called on him here at Aiwan-e-Sadr. He congratulated Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan on assuming the office of naval chief and expressed hope that Pakistan Navy under his leadership, would successfully overcome the maritime challenges.
Earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday said having land routes and trade linkages across the region, including Iran, Afghanistan, China and Central Asian states, Pakistan should be promoted better as a geo-economic hub rather than mere for its geo-strategic location.
“Promoting Pakistan as the geo-economic hub should be our vision instead of mere showing up its strategic location. Our goods can be traded to and from China and Central Asia through the Gwadar Port a great option for regional trade,” the president said. He said Pakistan had already shifted the Afghan transit trade to Gwadar. The regional trade could be enhanced significantly once peace was restored in Afghanistan.
To a question, the president said the real obstruction in Afghan peace was the role of spoilers like India, which always tried to disrupt peace in the region, be it the atrocities in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir or the discrimination towards its minorities. India tried to establish its hegemony in the region by jumping into different blocs and forums, he added. Dr Alvi said he had also discussed with the leadership of Turkmenistan the pending project of TAPI (Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India) gas pipeline and also called for offering a reasonable price. He said Pakistan’s gas reserves were depleting by 9 percent annually and the incumbent government had given exploration rights in 12 blocks.
To a question, the president said after the court’s verdict against him, Nawaz Sharif earlier targeted the judiciary and now the military.
The narrative of targeting the national institution was tantamount to appeasing and supporting the enemy country’s agenda, he remarked. Asked about the FIR (first information report) for a treason case against Nawaz Sharif, President Alvi said even the prime minister was astonished to know and called it “foolish” for dragging a political matter to another side. Someone would have registered the FIR just for publicity as everyone was free to do so in the country, he added. To a question about the marches planned by the opposition parties, he said, “The marches are beauty of the democracy until the same endanger the country.”
However, he advised the parties to exercise caution to avoid spread of coronavirus due to the protest gatherings.