First-ever think tank on growing Pak-African ties launched

By Our Correspondent
May 20, 2024
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed speaks at the launching of Pakistan's first think tank on Afro-Pakistan affairs in Karachi on May 19, 2024. — Supplied

The first-ever think tank on growing relations between Pakistan and African countries was launched under the aegis of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) at a ceremony held at a hotel on Sunday.


As the keynote speaker, noted politician and foreign affairs analyst Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed lauded the launch of the Pakistan-Africa Institute for Development & Research (Paidar), terming it a step in the right direction by the KCFR to strengthen the ties between Pakistan and African countries.

He said Paidar would prove to be an effective agency to cement economic, trade, cultural, people-to-people and government-to-government relations between Pakistan and African countries.

The first-of-its-kind think tank has been launched at a critical juncture of international relations when Afro-Asian countries are all set to play an important role in world politics after decades of Western global hegemony coming to an end shortly, he added.

He recalled that soon after coming into being in 1947, Pakistan had remained a vocal and persistent supporter of the cause of independence, autonomy, progress and development of the African nations in the post-World War II era, when colonialism had been coming to an end in Asia and Africa.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed speaks at the launching of Pakistan's first think tank on Afro-Pakistan affairs in Karachi on May 19, 2024. — Supplied

He also said that prominent African national leaders in the post-colonial era had always acknowledged the overwhelming moral, diplomatic and material support their countries had received from Pakistan for ensuring their survival and growth soon after securing independence.

He added that seasoned jurists, technocrats, bureaucrats, professionals and military officers from Pakistan had gone to serve in African countries to run different affairs of the state after independence. “One such glorious example is the late Air Marshal Azim Daudpota serving as the first air chief of Zimbabwe.”

He also recalled that he had acted as the minister-in-waiting when Nelson Mandela visited Pakistan many years ago, and that the South African leader had acknowledged that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had been a source of inspiration for him during his struggle for the emancipation of his country’s natives.

The senator, who also remained chairman of the parliamentary committee on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, said Pakistan had diplomatic missions in some 25 African countries, and around 15 African nations having embassies in Islamabad showed growing Pak-African ties.

Tariq Ikram, former chairman of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, said in his speech that there is a massive potential for growing economic and trade ties between Pakistan and African countries.

He urged Pakistani industrialists and businessmen to actively explore the option of African nations as a fast-emerging and thriving market for their products and commodities.

He said that the trade officers posted at Pakistani diplomatic missions in African capitals can play an important role in this regard after fully understanding the dynamics of the local markets in Africa.

He also said that competent and qualified people from the private sector should be given a chance to grow trade relations between Pakistan and the African continent.

KCFR Chairperson Nadira Panjwani acknowledged the recent advancements made by African countries in academic, scientific and technological fields. She said women in Africa have been getting a greater chance to play an effective role in the process of national development.

She also said Pakistan and African countries should collaborate in the fields of science, technology and academia. Latest digital means of communication have played an important role in accelerating poverty alleviation in Africa, and the progress of the downtrodden people in the backward parts of the continent, she added.

KCFR Patron-in-chief Ikram Sehgal said in his vote of thanks that the new think tank would conduct more moots and round-table discussions to find the ways and means to further enhance ties between Pakistan and Africa.

He expressed gratitude to Consul General of Oman in Karachi Engr Sami Abdullah Salim Al Khanjari for attending the launching ceremony, saying that Oman would serve as a gateway to further cement economic and trade ties between Pakistan and the African continent.