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February 11, 2021

Gulf region’s significance for Turkey, Pakistan discussed

Islamabad

February 11, 2021

Islamabad : NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies – ORSAM, leading Ankara-based Turkish think tank, co-organised the webinar on ‘Normalisation in the Gulf Region: Significance for Turkey and Pakistan.’

The webinar was moderated by former ambassador Riaz Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, and was attended by Turkish and Pakistani experts, higher education leaders, academics, security analysts, scholars and students. In his opening remarks, Rector NUST Engr Javed Mahmood Bukhari highlighted Pakistan and Turkey’s earnest desire for a peaceful Middle East.

He appreciated the development and modernisation achieved by individual Gulf countries but stressed the need for moving from individual development to shared growth. He also emphasised the need for inter-Islamic coordination and cooperation in establishing a broad-based multilateral framework for conflict management and resolution in the Middle East.

Former ambassador Riaz Khokhar said that Pakistan-Turkey relations were an exemplar of deep trust and reciprocal warmth. He identified that the understanding the two countries had maintained over decades was a rare thing in the world of diplomacy.

Dr Ahmet Uysal, president ORSAM & professor of Political Sociology at Istanbul University, highlighted the positive role that Pakistan had played in the Gulf. He stated that the solution to multiple conflicts in the Middle East could be achieved through common commitment to peace, stability and dialogue. He stressed the need for Turkey and Pakistan to develop their bilateral relations on a concrete basis so as to reap the trust dividend that had historically existed between the two countries.

Former ambassador Javed Hafiz, a veteran diplomat with extensive knowledge of the Middle East, underscored the economic importance of Pakistan’s relations with GCC states and stressed the historic security cooperation with friends in the Gulf region. He said remittances sent home by 5 million Gulf-based Pakistanis comprised 60% of the total remittances by Pakistanis living and working abroad.

Lt Gen (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, former caretaker Defense Minister of Pakistan, remarked that the role of emerging great power dynamics and the phenomenon of hybrid warfare were critical to understanding and framing the situation in the Middle East.

Dr Ghulam Mujaddid, Professor of Strategic Studies, Air University, stressed the need for enhanced bilateral trade between Turkey and Pakistan wherein Pakistan was increasingly supplying Turkey with goods and services that were currently being imported by Turkey from other countries in South Asia.

Dr Omer Aslan, senior fellow at ORSAM, emphasised that both Pakistan and Turkey had been traditional Western allies with similar experiences of partnership with the West. He said new circumstances called for developing new rationales for fostering mutual cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan.