They say that every cloud has a silver lining, implying that even in bad times, there is always hope for something positive.
Pakistan’s current floods are something of this sort. Amidst wide-spread destruction and devastation, the floods and the inability of Pakistan’s government to deal with them have brought about calls for a change in the nation’s political status quo from within the society.
Just as the floods have provided Pakistanis with a unique opportunity to rise as a nation and to resolve many of their outstanding disputes regarding their national identity and building of infrastructure, they have also given the Western world, particularly Australia, a fresh opportunity to re-assess relationships with that country.
Without a doubt, it can be said that Pakistan and Australia have much in common. There is huge potential for the improvement and strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Both countries are primarily mining and agricultural economies and have a culturally diverse population which has been further enriched by decades of trans-national immigration.
Both countries have suffered massive natural disasters over the last few years.
The Pakistan that will rise from these floods will surely be different from the Pakistan that was left after the Indo-Pakistan War in December 1971. Given the scale of the disaster covering nearly 4.3 million acres of land, it will have to re-built brick by brick and nearly 20 million lives will have to be rehabilitated.
Australia too has been afflicted by terrible floods time and again, and has managed to re-build houses and infrastructure very quickly. The sophisticated knowledge base that this country has developed in terms of laying down strong infrastructure and building a modern economy should be shared with Pakistan.
Training Pakistani farmers in modern agricultural methods and helping rural Pakistanis in re-building their now destroyed businesses and farm houses in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab, is in Australia’s own interests.
Engagements in Pakistan would benefit ordinary Pakistanis and Australians alike.
Active multi-layer commitments in Pakistan would mean more local jobs for Australians and higher tax revenues for the government; as increasing collaboration would mean greater production of agricultural fertilisers and medicines, among other things, in Australian laboratories and factories.
Increasing trade with Pakistan would enable large Australian businesses to establish their presence in that critically important region.
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