Pakistan and the Tri-Border Market Proposal

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Book Review by Dr. Muhammad Akram Zaheer

Book Review by Dr. Muhammad Akram Zaheer

In a bid to encourage economic collaboration and enhance regional connectivity, a groundbreaking proposal for a jointly administered market at the tri-borderland of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan has emerged during 2021, heralding a new era of cooperation among the neighboring nations.

Discussed by former governments of Imran khan in Pakistan and Hassan Rouhani in Iran, interpreted by esteemed political economist Dr. Muhammad Asim, the proposal aims to capitalize on historical ties and geographical proximity to establish a platform for shared economic activities. Dr. Asim’s careful research and advocacy have garnered attention, culminating in the presentation of his findings at prestigious academic forums and publications, including the International Studies & Research Institute in Tehran.

The proposed market holds immense promise for the socio-economic development of the region, offering opportunities for trade, investment and cultural exchange. By leveraging existing agreements such as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Chabahar-Gwadar Memorandum of Understanding 2016, stakeholders envision a robust network that transcends borders and propels growth.

However, amidst the optimism, challenges loom large. Tensions between major powers, security concerns of Iran and bureaucratic hurdles from Pakistan pose significant obstacles to the realization of this ambitious vision. Critics raise questions about the feasibility of implementation and the need for comprehensive strategies to address underlying issues.

Nevertheless, proponents remain steadfast in their belief that the benefits of regional integration far outweigh the challenges. They emphasize the importance of pragmatic leadership in Pakistan similar to post-1979 Iran and post-US Afghanistan, must commitment to national interests and inclusive dialogue in navigating the path forward.

As the proposal gains traction on both national and international platforms, Iran and Afghanistan as the two major stakeholders have been urged to seize the opportunity to chart a course towards peace, progress and prosperity. In fact, tri-border market initiative can stand as a testament to the potential of collective action in transforming the socio-economic landscape of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

In a world characterized by geopolitical complexities and economic interdependence, the tri-border market proposal offers a beacon of hope for a brighter future in the heart of South Asia. It is a testament to the power of cooperation and the resilience of nations determined to overcome barriers and forge a path towards shared prosperity. And, this has been realized by the Iran and post-US Afghanistan but the Pakistan, which was behind the proposal of this market, has been unfortunately turned its face from such mode of action since April 2022.