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May 21, 2015

Every country in region wants peace in Afghanistan

Islamabad

May 21, 2015

Islamabad
Writer and analyst, Ahmad Rashid has said that every country in the region wants peace in Afghanistan thus requiring an agreement within all regional countries to strive for peace by pledging not to interfere in Afghanistan.
Mr Ahmad was addressing launching of ‘Jago Pakistan: the report of the Century Foundation International Working Group on Pakistan’ organised by Centre for Research in Security Studies here.
Musharraf Zaidi of Alif Ailan moderated the proceedings. Ahmad Rashid said that infrastructure in Pakistan provides support to Taliban in terms of donations, food etc and Pakistan can do a lot in long term by curbing that infrastructure, which includes passage to Afghan drugs also. He said that Afghan people should have a feeling that neighbouring countries are friendly toward Kabul. Observing that no country can ignore big neighbours, he lamented that we are doing that. He said that there is a need to have trade relations with India.
The report prepared by experts from Pakistan, US, China, Japan and Turkey reflects realism, said the speaker.
Senior journalist, Najam Sethi, said that Pakistan was on the verge of according Most Favoured Nation status to India but Premier Nawaz Sharif who had promised trade and visa relaxation in his election manifesto and had chalked out a detailed and comprehensive agreement to be signed with Manmohan Singh but was advised by some quarters here to wait for the outcome of elections in India.
He said that Indians were less responsive to Pakistani initiatives and now New Delhi did not seem to be interested after Modi takeover. He said that civil and military leaderships are on same page in decision-making in Pakistan on foreign affairs.
Former US Ambassador Cameron Munter said that they do not hold magic wand but things should improve on Pak-India border. He described the report prepared by ‘Friends of Pakistan’ as durable as it is for tomorrow also.
Former Foreign Secretary Riaz

Khokhar said that Pakistan is facing serious problems despite growing Chinese role. He said that Iran and other regional countries can also benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said unity in Pakistan is very fundamental for the region. He said that the report supports continuity of democratic forces in the country.
Lt Gen (r) Talat Masud said that economy and security are interlinked and both needed to move in parallel.
Former US Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering said that the report does not take into account the changing situation in Afghanistan. He said that New Delhi and Islamabad should also include Afghanistan situation in their mutual dialogue.
Answering a question, Najam Sethi said that unless we put our back in order, foreign policy cannot work. He said that it was first time in our history that military and political leadership acting to grapple the problems. He referred to signing of MoU between secret agencies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In his comment, former DG of state run radio, Murtaza Solangi stressed the need of a minimum agenda to cool down the situation in Balochistan.
Former Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan and Afghanistan Ann Wilkens and Former Foreign Minister of Turkey Hikmet Çetin also spoke on the occasion.