MARDAN: The two-day international conference on the ”Nato Drawdown from Afghanistan - Opportunities and Challenges” concluded at the Abdul Wali Khan University here on Thursday.
Several foreign scholars attended the largely attended conference held at the new Garden Campus of the university. Academics and experts from all over Pakistan also spoke at the conference on a host of issues.
The conference was inaugurated and also closed down by the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) Vice-Chancellor, Dr Ihsan Ali. He praised the university’s political science department for organizing the international event and pointed out that AWKUM despite being a young university has been staging such major events in recent years.
The five working sessions of the conference were chaired by the Bacha Khan University, Charsadda Vice-Chancellor Dr Fazal Rahim Marwat, AWKUM’s Department of Political Science chairman Zahid Ali Marwat, University of Swabi Vice-Chancellor Dr Noor Jehan, senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai and AWKUM Vice-Chancellor Dr Ihsan Ali.
Over two days, the keynote speakers were former senior bureaucrat and ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand and Brig (Retd) Mahmood Shah, who served as secretary, law and order, at the Fata Secretariat, in the past.
Among the foreign scholars, Turkey’s Dr Regip Kutey spoke about the current challenges and future opportunities in Afghanistan, India’s Shanthie D’Souza highlighted the international intervention in Afghanistan and the prospects for peace and stability in the country, Canada’s Dr David Jones expressed his views on the problem of Durand Line in a future Afghanistan settlement, Prof Anatol Lieven of UK talked about the dilemmas of the US global order, and another British scholar Christopher Donnelly analyses the challenges and opportunities resulting from the Nato drawdown from Afghanistan.
The Pakistani scholars and experts who made presentations at the conference were Dr Noman Hanif, Ambassador Khalid Khattak, Dr Rashid of University of Sargodha, Dr Zahid Anwar, Dr Fakharul Islam and Dr Sarfaraz Khan of the University of Peshawar, Dr Musarrat Jabeen, Dr Mohammad Khan, Brig (Retd) Mohammad Khan, Dr Manzoor Afridi, Dr Ahsan, Jan Sartaj, Lt Col (Retd) Hikmat Shah Afridi, Naseer Ahmad, former home secretary Akhtar Ali Shah, Rahimullah Yusufzai and Col (Retd) Saifur Rahman.
The speakers focused on all aspects of the problem and in particular highlighted the impact on Pakistan as a result of the Nato drawdown from Afghanistan. They felt Afghanistan and Pakistan have to work hard to help each other to gain stability. The ongoing improvement in Pak-Afghan relations was welcomed as a means to stabilize the region and tackle the challenge of terrorism.