Defence Minister Khawaja Asif Tuesday severely criticised the United States, saying its flawed policies have pushed the whole region into destabilisation and lawlessness. He was talking to media persons after addressing a two-day international conference on the “Narratives of National Security” organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC (USIP) and Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF).
“The people of the region had to bear the brunt of flawed US policies which have failed to ensure peace and stability in the region,” he said, adding the world had to face disorder because of the existence of a single superpower [US]. “For how long, I don’t know, this region will bear the repercussions of failed US policies,” he said, adding that Russia and China should come forward and play their due role in resolving regional issues.
However, he lauded the recent visit of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the US, saying it will help in improving the relations between the two countries. To a question, he said that Pakistan and India can resolve their disputes through dialogue, adding the two countries should adopt the path of negotiations. “Pakistan desires peace with India but its must not be considered a weakness,” he added.
He pointed out that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, soon after taking over expressed his desire for peace with India. However, he regretted that for the last few months, this desire has been misinterpreted by the other side. He said the process of unprovoked firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary is not good for peace. To another question, he said that contacts and trade between SAARC countries should be increased for rapid development and prosperity of member countries.
Responding to another question, he said military operation against terrorists is being carried out without any discrimination, adding the armed forces are rendering numerous sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. However, he said peace and stability in Afghanistan is imperative for peace in the entire region, adding that no country should interfere in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
Asif further said the menace of terrorism has also spoiled the country’s economy, adding China is extending full co-operation to Pakistan to help improve the country’s economy. About the ISIS, the Defence Minister said the group was created and armed to topple Syrian President Assad’s government but the world community is struggling to deal with this militant outfit.
Earlier, inaugurating the conference, the Defence Minister spelled out challenges that Pakistan is facing in a very complexed and rapidly changing environment; from Afghanistan to larger parts of the Middle East. He said that Pakistan always made efforts to work with India with peace. However, things took a turn for the worst from the Indian side, he said, adding such setbacks to peace efforts are harmful for both the countries and Pakistan desires and hopes for renewed of lasting friendship.
In his welcome remarks, ISSI Director General Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais highlighted the aim and aspirations of the conference. He said that multiple conflicts in this geopolitical region as well as the global political regime have created ramifications for Pakistan.
According to HSF Resident Representative Kristof W. Duwaerts, the real agents of national security of Pakistan are associated with both the soft and traditional issues. He pointed out since the soft and hard issues are united so there is a need to look into the security challenges that are abstruse and hope that the conference will generate positive feedback from government and academics and its recommendations will provide new perspective for the formulation of national security policy.
Chairing one of the sessions on “Narratives on India-Pakistan Relations, former ambassador Aziz Ahmad Khan stressed the need for reopening of the dialogue process between the two countries and also hoped that the two prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi, who are currently in Nepal for SAARC Summit, would exploit the opportunity to meet and agree on resumption of the dialogue process.
He stated that one cannot contest India’s rise in the global order but there will be delays unless India resolves its issues and irons out its differences with Pakistan. He pointed out that 80 percent of the disputes all over the world are territorial and if both Pakistan and India can resolve the Kashmir issue, then they can easily resolve all the differences, which exist between the two countries.
He said both the governments need to facilitate travel between the people from both countries and create a paradigm of memories. Addressing the gathering, senior fellow Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, India, Dr Partha Ghosh argued that India-Pakistan conflict originated in the pre partition conflict between Congress and Muslim League and later over Kashmir.
Since these parties are no more in power, half of the problem is solved, he said, adding that remaining half would be solved once Kashmir issue is resolved. He presented interesting examples from around the world where efforts were successfully made by nations to reconcile with their past memories and look for a brighter future. He suggested that there should be joint textbook committees of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to reconcile the bitter memories being taught in the text books of the three countries.
Atia Kazmi of the Global Think Tank Network (NUST), highlighted the trust deficit that exists between developing and developed nations. Research fellow from GIGA Institute of Asian Studies, Germany Hannes Ebert focused on narratives on rivalry termination in South Asia. He said that the antagonism between India and Pakistan is considered to be “enduring rivalry”.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT