* Shaikh, Sherry Rehman highlight Pakistanâ€™s untold story of resilience at WB forumÂ
ISLAMABAD: Pakistanis continue to defy economic and security odds with unprecedented democratic reforms, economic recovery and vitality of civil society and march forward in key areas of development.Â
This was stated by top Pakistani officials at a World Bank forum, where international experts acknowledged that this wide-ranging resilience – which is ignored in the global media – is a major cause of hope and optimism for future of key South Asian nations, according to a message received here on Tuesday.
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman, speaking at the panel discussion on â€˜Pakistan: The Untold Storyâ€™ highlighted the fact that the Pakistanis are determinedly grappling with challenges as the people and their elected representatives strengthen democratic institutions, vital to development of the country. Ambassador Robin Rahpeh, US Coordinator for Non-Military Assistance to Pakistan, Nancy Birdsall, President of Washington think tank Center for Global Development, Mohsin Khan, a leading Pakistani economist at the International Monetary Fund and Professor Anatol Leieven, writer of Pakistan: A Hard Country, also spoke about Pakistanâ€™s inspiring performance in various fields of endeavour and reforms that the country needs to step up its development. World Bank Vice President Isabell Guerrero moderated the discussion. The finance minister, who led a team of economic managers to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank meetings, said he draws inspiration from the strong character of the founder Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and ordinary Pakistanis who face off daily pressures of life and continue to contribute to the development of their country. He said it would take Pakistan a combination of measures – including focus on human development, steps towards sustained high levels of exports and an appropriate mix between the roles of government and the private sector – would help Pakistan tide over difficulties and move forward as a stable economy.
â€œUnderlying all this will be the role of institutions and most remarkable feature in Pakistan right now is the strengthening of the democratic and civil society institutions including the parliament, court, media, the State Bank of Pakistan, Securities Exchange Commission are free and working autonomously.â€
He pointed out that overseas Pakistanis have great confidence in their country and are remitting unprecedented amounts back home.
Ms Rehman, spotlighting some of the Pakistani achievements that are not reported in the global media, told the gathering of experts that Pakistan offers a great deal of resilience and hope.
â€œA historic shift is taking place, institutions are being built in Pakistan, there is movement towards a democratic accountable structure of the government, among the untold stories in the last four-and-a-half-year is that for the first time Pakistanâ€™s democracy is witnessing a peaceful transfer of power, we finished Senate elections recently and the parliament has been empowered.â€ Pakistan, she said, wishes to live not just as a responsible country but wants to see its people live as global citizens. Pakistan is renegotiating its social contract with its own people. She also cited enactment of a series of laws and constitutional amendments that empower the provinces, ensure protection of womenâ€™s rights. She said martyred prime minister Benazir Bhutto remains an inspiration for womenâ€™s rights.