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February 29, 2016

How peace will prevail in Southeast Asia


February 29, 2016

Geopolitical placement of Pakistan as a nuclear power on the crossroads connecting Central Asia with rest of the Asia and well beyond has perpetually remained exploitable, usually for the benefits of all others except Pakistan and Afghanistan; American led west's theory/model of Af-Pak rather than Af-Region, including India is a living example of this conundrum. Peace and security of developed and developing nations within Asia, Gulf, Arab world, Europe and Trans Atlantic countries especially of America as well as Canada, have been earned at the cost of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s insecurity/internal conflicts and economic regress. For the last more than three decades, Pakistan has experienced gigantic conflicts in its neighborhood with spillover effects, first intervention by the Soviet Russia and then American led Nato etc, thus Pakistan felt a great deal of brunt that not only arrested its already slow pace of economic progress but also led to reorient its high cost security policies in addition to completely blurring the societal directions.

Misplacing at the cost of realigning of important directions, that enable countries to follow a viable but sustained roadmap devoid of negative and un-necessary and intrusive external influences, resultantly plunged Pakistan into the ensuing disorganised state of affairs barring it from a path of institutionalisation, a prerequisite prescribed by reformists and thinkers for developing an inclusive society rather an extracting state. This condition in turn has created great challenges for attaining requisite level of peace, security and economic progress that a nuclear armed country like Pakistan should maintain.

Regional countries as well as global powers to include America, EU and their allies across the regions to include Asia and South east Asia, have been so far succeeded to associate following bare minimum contemptuous characteristics with Pakistan, in order not only to legitimise their direct and oblique intervention but also to prop up ill founded apprehensions of insecurity and limiting economic progress. (a) Nuclear insecurity to a level of proliferation and accidental or deliberate error of letting loose a tactical weapon in addition to theft or chances of falling Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal into wrong hands. (b) Growth of highly volatile extremist society allegedly fomented and supported by the state, can pose threat to progress of rest of the civilised world including regional countries. (c) Escalating political instability supplemented with degradation of human resource development, human and minority rights violations, sectarian, ethnic and parochial polarisation and bad governance. (d) Resistance to conflict resolution and danger of eruption of new conflicts in the region. (e) Disengagement or indifference to effectively functionalise regional groups like Saarc. (f) Over-ambitiousness to play role beyond regional conflicts: involvement in Israel–Palestine conflict, KSA-Iran and Syria as well as Yemen crisis. (g) Potentials of re-emergence of new threats of terrorism in shape of ISIS/Daesh and fostering of outfits like Ahrar-ul-Hind in sub-continent mainly originating from Pakistan.

As a matter of historical fact, perpetuation of crisis, that has turned into unending conflict, tension and distrust in this region, are largely because of external meddling of extra regional forces (ERF) and hegemonic designs of regional powers especially India that has almost refused to resolve the core issue of Kashmir, which has further proliferated supplementary issues resulting into widening trust deficit between Pakistan and India in particular. In addition the circumstances, whereby US/Nato forces are defeated in Afghanistan, is creating schism by dragging India into Afghanistan in post drawdown scenario, essentially to cover up the humiliation to an acclaimed global power. This maneuvering is likely to increase insecurity including reigniting Durand line issue between two neighbouring countries to further complicate Line of Control (LoC) and Kashmir issue.

Certain immediate actions suggested here as ‘way forward’ if adopted may possibly be able to act as positive catalysts for achieving relative peace, security and economic progress/prosperity of the region that includes Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and beyond. 

These are (a) UN, EU and America should take substantial interest in resolving Kashmir issue in accordance with UN resolutions and as per the aspirations of Kashmiris. (b) Afghanistan’s representative government must daunt all types of terrorist groups currently using Afghan soil against other countries. (c) Pakistan must be supported to fence and selectively mine areas on its western border as done by the India on the plea of terrorism/infiltration. (d) Saarc must be energised for economic cooperation between regional countries without having disproportionate control on its commercial activities by any member country. (e) Pak–China Economic Corridor and new Silk Road connection must be supported by the extra regional forces and regional powers for economic emancipation of the Pakistan and region as a whole to also overcome conflicts and irritants. (f) Continuation and support of democratic system in Pakistan and Afghanistan at all costs to be ensured with corrective measures including adoption of international best practices to resolve conflicts as well as economic empowerment (EU’s GSP+ status under the phenomenon of Trade not Aid to Pakistan). (h) Curtailment of anti-Pakistan tirade in shape of blame game emanating from West and regional countries needs to be categorically accentuated for conflict resolution as well as economic emancipation of the region. (i) Both Pakistan and India may be given membership to nuclear club on equal conditionalities without discrimination (j) Last but not least finalise the withdrawal plan of American led foreign forces from Afghanistan after a speedy reconstruction work, that should not be left entirely on India.

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