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February 9, 2018

No military solution to Afghan imbroglio, says Gen Zahir


February 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Centre for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) organised a seminar “The US Policy for South Asia and Pakistan’s Response” on 8th February 2018 at a local hotel, says a press release.

The CGSS event brought together government representatives, armed forces officers, diplomats, experts of foreign policy and individuals from public and private entities.

The aim of the seminar was to discuss the recent policy statements/tweets by the US President, Donald Trump, and its impacts on Pakistan and the region. The seminar focused on future projection with special emphasis on regional security dynamics so that conclusions/recommendations can be drawn to develop a practical counter strategy keeping in view the future prospects.

Lieutenant General ( R) Muhammad Zahir Ul Islam HI(M), CGSS chairman, in his opening remarks, said that whether the US influence in the region was born out of incidences, such as the 9/11, or had the US long planned the intervention into Afghanistan. He concluded his remarks by stating that there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan, and all stakeholders must encourage having talks with the Afghan Taliban.

Ashraf Jehangir Qazi--former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States-- presented his speech on “India-US Nexus and its Impact on Pakistan”. He started off his speech by giving a brief outlook on US-Pakistan relations, and US long standing inclination towards developing relationships with China. He also stated that regardless of whether how much Pakistan would like, the US will never develop ‘strategic relations’ with Pakistan. However, Pakistan can develop an important relationship with the US by aligning Pakistan’s foreign policy with its domestic challenges.

Ambassador Zamir Akram – Former Ambassador of Pakistan and Permanent Representative to the United Nations--presented his speech on “US Grand Strategy for Asia; Its Manifestations in the Recent US Policy”. He stated that the US grand policy regarding South Asia is about containing the influence of China, for which US is developing a strategic alliance with India. He also mentioned how relevant Pakistan’s Afghan policy is to Indo-Pak relations. He concluded his speech by mentioning how US interests lie in destabilisation of the Middle East by increasing sectarianismand mentioned how stability brought to Afghanistan is of core importance to Pakistan.

Lieutenant General ( R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi HI(M)– Former Federal Defence Secretary of Pakistan presented his speech on “The US Policy for South Asia and Pakistan’s Response”. He started his speech by putting forth the questions that ‘whether great powers ever change, and if they do, is America winning in Afghanistan’. He then took his speech forward, concluding that the great powers never change. He finally gave a way forward for Pakistan, and what it can do to bilaterally develop relations with China and India.

Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan - Principal and Dean, School of Social Sciences & Humanities, National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Islamabad, presented his speech on “Economic Effects of New US Strategy”. He enlightened the audience with extensive statistical data on the financial and military support US has been providing to Pakistan and mentioned how Pakistan can single-handedly replace the economic assistance provided by the US.

About 250 people, including the senior members of CGSS Advisory Board, government representatives, armed forces officers, diplomats attended the seminar.

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