LONDON: A Pakistan delegation, comprising senior parliamentary leaders and representatives of the PILDAT Dialogue Group, has articulated concerns on the Afghan-exit strategy by the US during a three-day visit to the UK. The delegation met ministers of the British government, parliamentary committee chairs, MPs and intellectuals and discussed impact of the exit of the Nato forces from Afghanistan.
The 10-member delegation that visited UK from July 3 to July 5 included Leader of the Opposition in Senate Ishaq Dar, Chairman Parliamentary Committee on National Security Senator Raza Rabbani, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, MNAs Anusha Rehman Khan, Haider Abbas Rizvi, PTI Secretary General Dr Arif Alvi, former Minister for Defence Shahid Hamid Daily Pakistan Editor in Chief Mujib-ur-Rahman Shami and PILDAT Executive Director Ahmed Bilal Mehboob.
The delegation highlighted that security, political and economic balance of the region must be carefully planned with deep engagement of Pakistan in post-2014 realities of the region.
It was underlined that Pakistan is the biggest stakeholder on Afghanistan as it hosts around 2.5 million refugees and has suffered and sacrificed the most after 9/11 with over 40,000 loss of lives of civilians and soldiers, hence the Afghan reconciliation process requires Pakistan’s proactive participation, and its interests are in a stable, united and peaceful Afghanistan.
Candid conversations were held with the Labour party on the role it has played in reviewing UK National Strategy on national security.
The delegation engaged deeply with the chair and members of the Intelligence and Security Committee which assured that it will also, once the under consideration legislation is passed by the UK Parliament, be able to look at operations of the UK intelligence agencies.
UK Cabinet Minister Baroness Saeeda Warsi and MP and Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan Andrew Stephenson joined the Pakistani delegation at a luncheon interaction on Pak-UK relations and focused on how the parliamentary ties can strengthen further.The delegation also called on Home Secretary Theresa May and discussed Pak-UK cooperation on capacity building of LEAs and intelligence sharing.