0101Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) organized a Lecture Briefing on the proposed National Policy for Peace and Harmony’, as part of Project SALAM, on December 10th, 2013 at National Defense University (NDU), Islamabad. The purpose of the briefing was to introduce the Centre and Project (SALAM), and enlighten the audience with the principal tenets of the National Policy. The Seminar was attended by faculty members and students from various departments, and formed part of the efforts by the Centre to engage educational institutions and create awareness among youth for the betterment of our own society. In spite of the contributions our society has made, there remains an urgent need to engage our youth in helping make Pakistan a peaceful country and work towards eradicating the menace of violent extremism in Pakistan, in the region and beyond.  The Briefing was the second in the Lecture Series.

The Briefing Seminar opened with recitation of some of the verses form Holy Quran, followed by a welcome note by the Head of Department – Strategic and Nuclear Studies, Dr Zulfiqar Khan and introductory remarks by Member Advisory Board CPGS, Lt. Gen (R) Syed M Owais HI (M).

Dr Zulfiqar Khan welcomed the CPGS team and said that it was an honour for NDU to host the Briefing Seminar at its premises. He appreciated the efforts of Project SALAM and said that everyone present in the hall was aware of the fact that the South Asian region and Pakistan in particular is in a state of crisis due to the worst wave of extremism and terrorism possibly ever seen, and the proposed ‘National Policy for Peace and Harmony’ can lead the society in the right direction.

Lt. Gen (R) Syed Owais HI (M) emphasized the importance of the role of the youth in the society and said that young people have a larger part to play in resolving such key societal issues; therefore CPGS has taken the initiative incorporate youth in its drive to fight the menace of radicalization. CPGS is a newly established think tank, and right from the beginning CPGS has analyzed and deliberated upon issues which are a point of high concern for the entire nation. He said that Senator Sehar Kamran (TI), President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies is a very devoted lady and aims to promote Pakistani values in the world. While highlighting the National Policy for and Harmony he said that policy deliberated by the experts is a huge success of the Centre and this policy has been shared with all the concerned stake holders.

The proceedings started with a brief but comprehensive introduction to CPGS and its vision by Ms. Adeela Bahar. She informed the participants that CPGS wass established to Innovate future prospects for peace and security in the region and beyond, through intellectual discourse and to contribute towards sustainable social, political and economic development. Furthermore, the activities and the achievements of the Centre were also highlighted.

Ms Sara Batool continued the proceedings by briefing the audience on the CPGS Mega-Project SALAM. She highlighted the issue of the growing menace of radicalization around the world and said that while terrorism is a global threat, unfortunately Pakistan is the hardest hit victim of it. It is in this backdrop that CPGS has launched ‘Project SALAM: Innovating Means to Resolve Radical Extremism in Pakistan’. The word SALAM means peace and each letter in word SALAM has a meaning in itself where Sensitizing society and institutions, Accessing everyone involved, Linking all, Acting timely, Monitoring progress. Ms Sara informed the audience about the phases of project SALAM and highlighted the upcoming activities under the SALAM.

In the third phase of the proceedings, Ms Sara Batool continued with the briefing on the proposed CPGS “National Policy for Peace and Harmony”. She said that Policy on Peace and Harmony is a comprehensive guideline and aims to assist the counter radicalization policy. CPGS has developed and promoted an indigenous, ‘Pakistani’ narrative in the policy and has not use western jargon and terminology of ‘Counter terrorism’ and ‘Counter radicalization’ in the document itself as all these terms are heavily contextualized. It is with this in mind that the policy has been named the ‘Policy for Peace and Harmony’, which is a guideline to path of peace. While discussing the challenges faced by the society today, Ms Sara said that there are enormous challenges in the political/ideological, institutions/departments, socio economic and perception management sectors of state governance. The policy suggests reforms in certain flawed areas and asserts the need of unified national identity and national narrative supported by both public and private sector. Moreover, there is a need to initiate legal and judicial reforms to improve existing judicial system for fair and speedy justice and incorporate mechanism for prevention of crime.

Q & A Session


Gen (R) Owais

These are the salient highlights of the paper, and not the complete document, which present the broad highlights of this paper. As the policy paper itself is not the final document as yet, it has certain grey areas which require your input, so please feel free to ask anything which want to clarified or raise any other aspect you want to deliberate or comment on.

The house is now open for the Q&A session.

Question: Mr Rana Athar Javed

It was really very interesting and also well deliberated. I am Rana Athar Javed, Director General of Pakistan House based in Denmark and in Islamabad also. I have a questions and a brief comment. The comment is about the grey-white areas of course, because we are dealing with almost entire social-political structures. It relates to Madrassa reforms, as we have already noted the fact that we have many initiatives on Madrassa reforms, standardization of Khateeb speeches, all the way down to syllabus changes, and for good reason; this is just a comment. The other is related to, as you pointed out, the intelligence reforms. As we are aware, intelligence institutions mostly have their internal mechanisms to look into the requirements for how to conduct their reforms internally, just for the sake of confidentiality and also not to be exposed to the entire world regarding what they are taking on. Yes I do believe there should be coordination and cooperation. But when you say that, is it about the distribution of duties between the Intelligence Bureau, Police or the CID, SIU, FIA, or we  are talking about the ISI or IB. Just to have to make a clarification; reforms in intelligence system mostly come from within.

Gen (R) Owais

It is very interesting point; as far as Madrassa reforms are concerned, you may be aware that they were institutionalized under the ‘Wafaq ul Madaris’, but unfortunately that institution has also suffered through various radicalizing phases and unfortunately it does not work as we expected. People like the founding person of Wafaq ul Madaris, Mr Ghamdi, these people you had a very moderate approach and they advocated a moderate approach. Unfortunately however, that didn’t work after a while, and this is not a grey area but rather a white area as the government is not working in this problem. That is why we are suggesting that this institution, i.e. the Wafaq ul Madaris or any other institution of choice, should engage the government and carry out reforms because these are very important institutions and they need urgent reform. No think tank and no other institution can do it. It is only the government that has the power to introduce any substantive change. The Government must develop a mechanism and additional measures can be suggested by the society, but how to enforce those measures is the responsibility of government or the relevant ministry.

As far as intelligence is concerned, you see the intelligence has various tiers – it operates at strategic levels, national and international level and also comes down to a grassroots level. The core problem which we have is a socio-political problem which stems from the basic fabric of the society. As such there is need for intelligence mechanisms from where the government can gather local intelligence. The ISI can’t do this thing, the MI can’t do it and even IB can’t do this thing. They can only lay down certain parameters and rules but it has to be down the level at the district level to facilitate investigation and crime prevention.

Question: Abbas

You have mentioned certain policies that like the mandate for how an Imam should be appointed, but these changes will definitely have certain fallouts Does your paper give ideas as to how the government should deal with those fallouts, how public will react and how the people attached to the religion will react if the government makes such changes, or are you leaving this part upto the government?

Gen (R) Owais

This is very good and important point. If you ask my personal opinion, this should be done at the local-body level. Unfortunately, political parties dictate even at the international level not to encourage local bodies. If an area has local bodies, they are bound to know more and be better aware of the people living and the sect to whom the people of an area belong, as per the area under their jurisdiction. The local bodies need to be trusted with this responsibility and again they must be very honest. They have to be no conspiracy theories and no unnecessary criticisms, but a very honest approach.

Question: Guest

I would like to comment here that there is not only the Wafaq ul Madaris but there is also a Tanzeem-e-Shia, fighting with each other. First we have to settle their clashes. Your institution must give some directions as this is absolutely what we are saying; harmony in various segments of the society (different sects).

Gen (R) Owais

All these segments of the society need to live in harmony and this harmony did use to exist. We saw this harmony with our own eyes when we were young. Incidents like the recent Raja Bazaar debacle never used to happen in Muharram – the sanctity of Ashura, whether it was the Ehle-e-Shia or Ehl-e-Sunnat, the sanctity of this month was paramount. Mother used to tell me to stand where there is procession and provide water or whatever they want when they were [passing through that procession, but unfortunately external, internal, dictated and paid enemies have totally collapsed this system. So there is a need to bring that harmony back in our society. There are so many things which can be done by the institutions, young generation and the people of the society.

Question: Dr Saif

 It is really very heartening to listen to you and the agenda of the institution and the task which you people are carrying out. It is very demanding indeed. I would require your attention on the aspect which is generally ignored by social scientists and the research institutions inside Pakistan. If we look at the history of Pakistan, since 1980 onwards if we note the population growth and the growth of the Madaris, there is no congruence. Furthermore, it is unclear which organizations are funding them and which school of thought is being promoted. This is an established fact that we have been supporting the religious organizations which have developed their roots with Madaris. Secondly, may I know the publications that are published by your institution?

Gen (R) Owais

I agree with the first part of your question. There are two things which have to be addressed at the governmental level as far as peace and harmony is concerned. One is population control and the other is education. The way this population is growing is a bomb in itself. Population is growing at an uncontrollable rate. If a person living in the urban area of southern Punjab has ten kids then it is not possible for him to send his kids to City School or any other private school. Of course he will then send his child to a Madrassa, where food and other facilities are free. The majority of the youth are going to Madrassas for this reason, and there the teacher or the religious scholar moulds their minds according his choice and personal beliefs.

Second is the education. There are recommendations given in the policy as well that the education sector needs to be reformed. According to statistics by the Ministry Of Education, only 15-20 % of the population goes to school. The remaining 80% of the people are going to Madrassas. So these two areas need improvement – population and education. There is need to create awareness on these issues by the society.

Question: Rubina (PhD scholar)

I really appreciate the bold step you people are taking and I would really like to appreciate you for this. These are very controversial issues, especially when we talk about the media and the public opinion policy. You know that at every step the media complains that its independence have been interrupted in some way or the other. I have a suggestion that in the constitution there should be some clause that dictates that no ordinary person should be allowed to issue statements on sensitive issues like nuclear issues and religion, as it creates unnecessary hype.

Gen (R) Owais

It is a very good suggestion and we will incorporate it into the policy. Even a country like Saudi Arabia has strict rules regarding these matters; an ordinary person cannot issue a fatwa, it is only the mutawa who is allowed to give fatwa.

Question: Muhammad Mateen

Your lecture has been very informative. I would like to add that our society is very diverse and we are not able to indulge every part of society; for example the southern part of Punjab is very different from central Punjab. We have not started any ventures from the government’s side or even by the civil society side to inculcate both the sides of the society to make a joint platform and move towards development. In addition to a top down approach, what do you think the younger generations and students can do to bring harmony to the society and bridge this gap?

Gen (R) Owais

This is precisely what we are doing, and trying to do. Radical extremism is such a challenge that millions of lives have been lost, including civilian and armed forces. Regarding the top down, approach, and initiative has been taken by Senator Sehar Kamran (TI); she is knocking the door of the government and trying to bring their attention to resolve this menace of radicalization. Youth can engage in platforms like the CPGS to help create awareness among the general public regarding the details of such issues. You can also work individually, or via the institutions where you are working and go out in your city and villages to create awareness.

Adil Sharief

This paper also provides the concept of a national commission, which will actually suggest the final social and economic reforms, so the first perspective of your question can be answered with this. This commission, in a given time frame, will suggest to the government what steps can be taken and how youth can be employed. As you know, unemployment is one of the reasons for creating grounds for terrorism and extremism and through this measure this can be resolved.

Question: Guest

My question is regarding Madrassas, as I myself belong to tribal area. The biggest reason of going to a Madrassa is poverty because everything is provided free of cost in Madrassas. We can solve this by providing good quality education at low prices and the standard of education must be harmonized throughout the country.

Gen (R) Owais

Absolutely. In fact I would refer to the answers of one of the previous questions; two situations need reform. One is education and the other is poverty. It is poverty that forces the poor man to send his offspring to Madrassas. If there is a public education system that is of a good standard and affordable by all segments of the society, then this problem will be addressed.

Question: Guest

Sir I am here as an MPhil student, SNS department. First of all I would like to quote a sufi saint in addition to your earlier advice about attitudes during your childhood. He says and I quote, ‘We used to live in peace and harmony, all the religions. With the advent of political parties, inter-religious clashes started.’ And when divisive religious parties were formed, sectarian divides came to the forefront. Sir, everyone knows that we are facing fourth generation warfare. The army cannot take on different aspects of this fourth generation warfare, including media, economics, diplomacy etc. The government has to take care of that front. Now my question is, according to data from 2008, NDU, there are over 200 terrorist organizations in Pakistan. Even political parties often have terrorist wings. Over the last decade, we have lost over a 100,000 civilians and uniformed personnel. And yet not a single terrorist has been hung by the institutions. I haven’t seen any comments on this area yet. Secondly, I think more emphasis is required on the nuclear aspects of our defense policy and the need for it. Your policy does highlight the issue, but given the fact that our media today is so inflammable that is has almost become part of the enemy’s machine, more emphasis is required.

Gen (R) Owais

Just before this session we were discussing precisely why is it that captured terrorists do not get sentenced? This is indeed a massive weakness in the system. That’s also what I have said initially, that at the national level we are currently lacking response. Everybody recognizes these things and that it is a very dangerous trend. It’s an internal threat and indulging in fading society. But, unfortunately no government has carried out any work on this side and given a clear national policy regarding what would be the role of judiciary, politicians and other institutions. At the national level, we have failed to have a coordinated response to these threats. This is where institutes like CPGS step in. They can take on the role of promoting these tasks and create awareness among the people. Regarding the legal aspects of the issue, Mr Adil Sharief will now brief you.


Adil Sharief

First of all I want to tell you one thing; in Pakistan the first legal response to terrorism is the Legal Act of 1997; it is one of the first serious documents for the anti-terrorist court of 1997 and was precisely for the response that was required to cater to the growing sectarianism problem. But systematic terrorism is a new phenomenon which was initiated precisely after 9/11. Until now, no serious document has been created to deal with it specifically. No serious debate has been done on this issue either. If you see the legal side, only recently has the government made any amendments in law regarding terrorism.

Secondly, it must be remembered that there are different stakeholders in the judicial structure. The first tier is investigation, secondly judiciary actions and finally post-judgment implementation. Judiciary is a neutral arbitrator in whole the system. The judiciary cannot be a party of the state. Normally the state is one of the parties in a criminal sitting, for example ‘state versus accused’, or ‘state prosecutes the guilty’. The state has to bring the case before the court and prosecution has to prove each and every aspect of the crime – the judge is a neutral arbiter. He cannot do anything on the basis of prior or personal knowledge. Some people raise questions as to why judges do not hang terrorists. The problem is often a lack of evidence. Prosecution lives in visible fear throughout Pakistan. Bringing evidence against these terrorists is never an easy task, especially when these evidences are not fully developed and do have the potential to turn on the prosecutor. A Judge only ever decides on the basis of these evidences, he cannot decide arbitrarily. If there is no evidence, then a judge must free the accused. This is fundamental, essential principle of the legal regime in Pakistan and almost throughout the world. The accused remains innocent unless proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Question: Guest

What then is the solution?

Adil Sharief

The solution is that we must replace the law which directly deals with systematic terrorism, and it is the parliament that has the authority to make such new laws. Furthermore, judges should be equipped with new trends and authorities must be given capacity-building training to specialize them in the field.

To my understanding, the approach towards terrorism must be differentiated from regular crime. With a law and order approach we connect every event with terrorism. If two men are fighting and one kills the other, then it is not a terrorist activity. We are talking about systematic terrorism which has political ends. For this we have to need different definition of terrorism, a separate structure for special judges, specific lawyers of terrorism and prosecution standard evidences. We have to loosen our judiciary regime a little bit for the sake of an effective counter-terrorism policy; otherwise we are honestly likely to fail. If an agency intercepts intelligence related to terrorists, then it has to be disclosed in front of the court, but this could dangerous for internal infrastructure and reveal agency working mechanisms, and it is precisely this sort of problem that requires special leeway within the system, where the evidence may be used without endangering the larger system.

Question: Guest

European countries have modified their rules and regulations accordingly and you mentioned that our parliament has not delivered anything in this regard.

Gen (R) Owais

This is precisely what has been suggested to the parliament. Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) is knocking the door of parliament on this very issue and as well as suggesting a comprehensive framework to deal with radical extremism. Every new government completes its tenure without tackling this issue. Nobody is taking this matter seriously, but we are working towards changing this.

Comment: Guest

I want to point out that we lack some of the technical facilities for such intelligence operations, like forensic labs. In many cases we don’t have substantial proof due to a lack of forensic labs facilities. It is a big crack in our prosecution process. With collective intelligence evidence and forensic proof we can counter terrorists groups. It is therefore very important for us to develop the necessary facilities.

Question: Kanwal (Student SNS)

What is paramount – is peace policy formulation based on an ‘economy first’ or a ‘security first’ paradigm?

Gen (R) Owais

Economy substantiates security. Whether it is internal or external, security remains are focus. We have to focus on security and then economy and other elements.

Adil Sharief

It is a mix of both, we are catering to the security issue while strengthening our economy at the same time.

Question: Mohsin (Student)

You are talking about extremism in your policy but I have found two areas of concern that do not seem highlighted. One is ethnic diversity in Pakistan and the second, what would you suggest for relations with other religions like Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism etc?

Gen (R) Owais

Regarding the first part of your query, we are in fact suggesting the exact same. As to the second part, I would personally say that first of all and especially given the fact that this is a Muslim majority country, sectarian divides are an immense source of internal conflict and upheaval, and we need to resolve these issues on a priority basis, before moving to issues related to the interfaith dynamics in Pakistan. Due to the rigidity of the society we are living in today, we face many incidents of religious violence, even though Islam advocates harmony and peace. It is us who have gone astray not following these virtues for peace and harmony.

With that ladies and gentlemen we come to the end of the session. Thank you all for your active participation, dynamic questions and all these helpful and incisive suggestions.

MoU with ISSRANovember 8, 2013

In an impressive ceremony early Friday, the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Defense University (NDU), a prestigious higher educational institute of Pakistan. The ceremony was conducted at the outset of a Joint Roundtable between CPGS and Institute for Strategic Studies Research and Analysis (ISSRA – NDU), titled ‘Innovating Means To Resolve Violent Extremism’, in which research teams from CPGS and ISSRA participated and discussed various non-kinetic tools and means to curb the menace of violent extremism from Pakistan.

CPGS is only the tenth institute in the world to sign a MoU with NDU, which highlights the prowess of the Centre and the quality of research being conducted. ‘The signing of this MoU is a positive development, and will enable mutual growth and excellence in the two institutions. NDU is looking forward to a more intimate and evolved relationship with CPGS’, stated President NDU, Lt Gen Javed Iqbal, HI (M). In her opening remarks to the assemblage, Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) stated ‘Working together for shared goals of peace and security through collusion of intellectual resources would help enrich the national narrative for promoting and securing the national interests of Pakistan’.  ‘This is the fastest MoU ever signed by NDU, and let us hope that it is a good indication of the beginning of a strong relationship’, stated Director-General ISSRA, Maj. Gen. Zaiuddin Najam, HI(M).

The MoU Signing Ceremony was followed by short presentations on the ‘Non-Violent means for Resolving Violent Extremism’ by ISSRA and the CPGS proposed National Policy for Peace and Harmony by the Centre. The presentations were tailored to initiate an in-depth discussion on various aspects of the menace of radical extremism and deliberations on a way forward. Opening the roundtable session, DG ISSRA, Maj. Gen. Zaiuddin Najam, HI(M) also stated that ‘While there are many models for de-radicalization efforts to learn from available globally, none of them can be replicated exactly in our country. A roundtable of this nature is therefore of the highest importance in developing a strategy that caters to the ground realities of Pakistan’. ‘Pakistan urgently needs a cohesive, holistic and pro-active approach based on agreed principles to effectively exterminate the menace of violent extremism’, stated Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) in her final remarks to the roundtable participants.


Key Issues

  • Keeping in view the continuity of US drone strikes, can the government of Pakistan meaningfully pursue the path of negotiations with TTP?
  • Will the US leave Afghanistan without any power-sharing formula among the contending groups of Afghanistan? What will be its implications for Pakistan?
  • In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leak regarding the surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear program, does Pakistan need to worry more about the security of its nuclear program?
  • Will there be any meeting of minds between the US and Pakistan on India and Iran?
  • Is it a new beginning or the end of a beginning for US-Pakistan relations?


The US-Pakistan relations are characterized by increasing divergence between the two countries rather than the convergence. Both countries disagree on the issue of drone attacks, on the war against terror, over relationship with India and Iran.  A potential convergence also exists on the end game in Afghanistan and a strategic cooperation leading to a broad partnership in other spheres but it will take a herculean effort on both sides to overcome their differences.

The issue of drone attacks tops the list of Pakistani agenda as the drone attacks kill the innocent civilians, inflict collateral damage and violate Pakistan’s sovereignty. Pakistan is caught in the vicious cycle as the drone attacks create new suicide bombers who seek revenge from the Pakistani public, a supposed US ally in the war against terror.

 More importantly, the drone attacks also prevent the newly elected democratic regime of Pakistan to adopt an indigenous counter-terrorism policy towards the militant groups in FATA as endorsed by the All Parties conference. Whenever Pakistan government shows its willingness to engage in the dialogue, the drone attacks take place as has happened recently, or a wave of terrorist attacks is unleashed, putting the policy on hold. It is ironical that the US itself has been pursuing the policy of dialogue with the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan while pressurizing Pakistan to use force in FATA. These contending conceptions of war against terrorism also constitute another divergence between the two countries.

CIA’s presence in Pakistan also becomes significant in the wake of Edward Snowden recent revelations that fifty percent of CIA’s black budget is being spent on the surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear program. The issue of CIAs presence has been a source of friction between the US and Pakistan since the arrest of Raymond Davis in Lahore. It is no secret as Mark Mozzetti in his book “Way of Knife” has revealed that CIA has been involved in massive covert warfare in Pakistan and Pakistan is the “most penetrated” country in the world. Pakistan’s nuclear program is at grave risk in case the thousand s of CIA operatives remain active in the country. The leaked Abbott bad Commission report shows how the ground presence of CIA helped succeed the American raid on Pakistan.

Differences over Pakistan’s relations with India and Iran also constitute another source of friction between the US and Pakistan. The US wants Pakistan to stop backing the militant groups in Kashmir ignoring the indigenous causes of militancy in Kashmir while Pakistan wants US to persuade India to revive the composite dialogue process aimed at resolving all outstanding issues including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also ironical that the US has made India its strategic partner by signing the nuclear deal and not only denies the same cooperation to energy-starved Pakistan but is also pressurizing Pakistan to cancel its gas pipe deal with Iran. Pakistan is threatened with sanctions if it goes ahead with the proposed Iran gas pipeline agreement.

A potential convergence exists about the end-game in Afghanistan where both the US and Pakistan want some kind of political settlement of Afghanistan. It is certainly in the interest of the two countries if the Taliban become the part of some power-sharing agreement in Afghanistan and the civil war does not erupt in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been releasing the key Taliban leadership to facilitate the reconciliation process in Afghanistan and is also making positive overtures to Afghanistan but the stalemate between the US and Taliban continues to persist as the US exit deadline approaches nearer. The indications are that the US will walk away from Afghanistan even without a compromise among the contending groups in Afghanistan, leading to a re-eruption of the civil war and leaving Pakistan in the lurch to deal with the fall-out. As the US-Afghan bilateral security talks hit the snags over the immunity issue for the American soldiers deployed in Afghanistan after 2014, the Obama administration is seriously thinking of zero option, i.e. withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan.

John Kerry, the US secretary of state talked about the revival of strategic cooperation between the two countries during his last visit to Islamabad but it appears to be a non-starter because of prevalence of hawkish groups led by CIA and Pentagon in the Obama administration. If the Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, despite her unusual access to Obama, could not make any difference in the US policy towards Pakistan then it appears unlikely that John Kerry would make any substantial difference. The talk of strategic cooperation appears to be merely rhetorical in order to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for the smooth exit of the US troops from Afghanistan.

Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) strongly condemned the US Drone Attack last night in Miranshah, North Waziristan that left 3 dead. These attacks are not only a violation of the state’s sovereignty and integrity but also a direct breach of human rights. She emphasized that the government must change track on its policy towards the drone attacks and ensure their cessation.

By Adeela Bahar Khan

Nov 1, 2013

Pak Us

Pakistan plays a significant role strategically, not only in South Asia but also in the global arena. Because of its strategic position in the war on terror, it has increasingly been viewed by American officials, in the context of the situation in Afghanistan, as a major partner in the campaign to destroy Al Qaeda and the Taliban network and now looking forward for assistance in successive transition from Afghanistan in 2014.

The 66 year history of relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has been manifested by alternate periods of courtship and of distrust. Following 9/11 however, there has been a twist in these relations, and Pakistan and the US have since developed very close working ties. During the 12 years of this war, Pakistan has lost more than 40,000 innocent human lives as well as faced massive economic losses. The causalities of military and paramilitary troops have been raised each day which is more than any other U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

U.S.-Pakistan engagement may be focused on cooperation in the war on terrorism, but it is not limited to it. As this the American war not the Global War or Pakistani war. However, Pakistan faces serious dilemmas in its partnership with the US. The security situation in the country is deteriorating day by day; suicide bombings, drone attacks, terrorist attacks and violation of human rights which raises instability in Pakistan and US. The US government faces serious and multiple challenges because of its own public.  The massive killings in Afghanistan upraised the  public proclaimed to stop further deployment of its forces to other countries

The people of yesteryear believed that no productive ties could ever develop between Pakistan and USA. This fact is visible even amongst the moderates in Pakistan who generally perceive Pakistan merely as an ally in a futile war and a country that has suffered immensely from the tide of rising extremism in Pakistan and its neighborhood. This perception exists despite the American leadership’s reassurances to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mian M Nawaz Sharif during his visit to the US that while differences exist on certain issues, the US will continue to support Pakistan in every hardship and not abandon the region following the military pullout in 2014. The fact remains however that the States has chosen to act in self-interest over regional interests time and again, lending little credibility to such reassurances.

Since 2001, Pakistan has received large amounts of financial aid for security, support and development programs. Despite this assistance, Pakistan remains overburdened with the problems of increasing poverty, a growing energy crisis and of course, terrorism. The post 2014 Afghan transition is a new cause for alarm and concern for Pakistan. The Obama Administration recently released a further USD 1.6 billion in aid during the visit of the Prime Minister to the US with the hope of strengthening cooperation on issues of mutual concern, such as energy, trade and economic development, regional stability, revival of Strategic Dialogues and countering violent extremism. This move also indicates the need of support by Pakistan during and for a successful transition in Afghanistan, as the process will involve more than 70 percent of Pakistan’s land routes for logistic movement and 30 percent of northern land routes.

Both countries now face an enormous task ahead — how to bridge the trust deficit that is crucial for establishing stability in the region, as many in Pakistan continue to doubt the sincerity and aims of U.S. policies in the region. A new foundation needs to be laid for a productive US-Pakistan relationship. Market access and trade agreements are a good start, but the process needs an implementable action plan for long term success.  Both countries need each other more than ever before, particularly in light of the emerging post-2014 scenarios, where Pakistan can play a positive role in maintaining global peace and ensuring stability in Afghanistan. With this one point in focus, both countries must move together and look ahead to face the challenges posed.

By The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS)

Oct 28, 2013

indexThe Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) has recently proposed a ‘National Policy for Peace and Harmony’, promoting a culture of tolerance and equality and countering terrorism, as a part of its work towards countering and preventing radicalization tendencies in Pakistan. This Policy document was launched at the culmination of a Two-Day International Seminar organized by the Centre on 21st – 22nd August 2013. This document was then floated at various national and international platforms, including various relevant governmental institutions.

Shortly afterwards, the All-Parties Conference (APC) held on September 9th 2013 passed a joint resolution tackling similar issues. The text of the resolution highlights various points raised by the Policy document. In fact, the call for the APC in itself is in line with the recommendations of the proposed policy, as emphasized in the concluding paragraphs of the document:

The National Policy for Peace and Harmony is aimed at resolving the existing radical extremism in Pakistan using peaceful means, integrating and coordinating national efforts on the basis of agreed principles achieved through consensus. This task is enormous and cannot be undertaken alone by any government, political party or group.

 The policy document itself stressed the need for consensus via an APC. Similarly, many other congruencies presented themselves within the texts of the two documents. Some of them have been highlighted below.

APC Text

Guiding Principles:

Guiding principles should include respect for local customs and traditions, values and religious beliefs and the creation of an environment which brings peace and tranquility to the region.


  1. The APCs in February 2013 reiterated that attaining peace through dialogue should be the first priority.
  2. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan are paramount and must be safeguarded at all costs.
  3. And determined to promote friendship with all and enmity towards none”; Emphasizing the imperative need to review our national security strategy, in the context of an independent foreign policy with focus on peace and reconciliation, and to attach the highest priority to dialogue

Policy Text

Guiding Principles:

Recognising the principles of freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice, as enunciated by Islam; Wherein adequate provisions should be made for all the communities to profess and practice their beliefs;
Implement proposed action plan in a co-ordinated and co-operative manner keeping in view local social, religious, political and economic realities of Pakistani society.



  1. Identify issues and initiate dialogue all segments of society representing different views.
  2. Produce National narrative based on agreed values and principles around shared history, culture, sovereignty of the state, peaceful coexistence and rule of law.
  3. Understanding the need for integration in international system for peace and harmony on the basis of universal human values, norms, principles and traditions.

Thursday, Oct 24th 2012

At the Policy Seminar of State Standing Committee on Defense, Senator Sehar Kamran (TI) put forward the case for getting Pakistan access to Civil Nuclear Technology, and counter the negative and unjust perceptions of the country abroad. Pakistan fully qualifies to have full access to Civil Nuclear Technology for peaceful purposes, she said, as it possesses the requisite expertise, manpower and infrastructure to produce civil nuclear energy, which in turn, will create opportunities for economic development and will contribute in achieving peace and prosperity.

The strains on the global non-proliferation regime have become acute in the recent years. The pursuit of policies based on discrimination and double standards by some major international powers has damaged the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Pakistan wants to work with international community in pursuit of reestablishing a robust global nonproliferation regime. Pakistan does not believe in No Nuclear First USE (NFU), but believes in Nonaggression and No Use of Force (NUF) posture both in conventional and strategic domains.

She further said that Pakistan’s policy on nuclear non-proliferation is very transparent and clear. It is directly linked with its national security interests and concerns. Pakistan wants its inclusion in nuclear export control regimes such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), particularly as it has been playing a vital role at regional and global levels as far as the nuclear non-proliferation is concerned.

The threat of non-state actors accessing Pakistan’s nuclear assets is simply part of a baseless propaganda campaign; Pakistan has an effective command and control system and is fully capable of managing the security of its nuclear assets. And it must not be forgotten that extremist element in Pakistan has, to a great extent, been exported by international power players.

Pakistan must make immense efforts to work on its perception management for countering the misperceptions and negative propaganda currently being applied and accelerate efforts to acquire Civil Nuclear Technology.

News cutting

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to establish and promote a tradition of peace and harmony in Pakistan, the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) has launched a drive to engage the youth of the country.

The Centre recently proposed a “Draft National Policy for Peace and Harmony”, at the eve of the Two Day International Seminar, held on 21st – 22nd of August 2013, in Islamabad. To spread the message of peace and involve the general public by familiarizing them to the main tenets of this proposed policy, CPGS is working on a public campaign to enhance awareness regarding the proposed policy.As a part of this campaign, the first policy briefing was held at the National University for Modern Languages (NUML) on Friday to enlighten students and faculty members about the background of the problem, and a comprehensive and holistic de-radicalization and counter-radicalization package that the policy entails.The Seminar was organized by the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) in collaboration with Department of International Relations, Conflict and Peace Studies, NUML.In his opening remarks, Head of the Department of International Relations, Conflict & Peace Studies (IR, CPS) Prof. Dr Zulfiqar Ali Qureshi welcomed the CPGS Delegation and praised the efforts of the team in organizing the Briefing Session.

He highlighted the growing problems in Pakistan as a result of terrorism and emphasized the need for collective efforts towards their earliest resolution; efforts such as those undertaken by the Centre in developing and proposing this policy document.

Lt. Gen (R) Syed M Owais HI (M), Member CPGS Advisory Board, in his introductory remarks introduced the students and faculty to CPGS and Project SALAM.

He thanked Dr Qureshi and NUML for providing CPGS with this platform to unfold the public discussion on the proposed CPGS National Policy; it was a ‘wonderful opportunity’ he said ‘to engage with students and faculty alike, to be able to take their input on the subject’.

He said that initiatives such as these are vital for a coordinated and all-encompassing response against the menace of violent extremism. It is only with the collaboration of all segments of the society and the untiring efforts of its youth that Pakistan can move towards a peaceful and prosperous society.

Source: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?newsid=241088&catname=Business

Press Release October 11th, 2013 

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The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) launched a drive to engage the youth of the country in its efforts to establish and promote a tradition of peace and harmony in Pakistan. The Centre recently proposed a “Draft National Policy for Peace and Harmony”, at the eve of the Two Day International Seminar, held on 21st – 22nd of August 2013, in Islamabad. To spread the message of peace and involve the general public by familiarizing them to the main tenets of this proposed policy, CPGS is working on a public campaign to enhance awareness regarding the proposed policy. As a part of this campaign, the first Policy Briefing was held at the National University for Modern Languages (NUML) on October 11, 2013 to enlighten students and faculty members about the background of the problem, and a comprehensive and holistic de-radicalization and counter-radicalization package that the policy entails. The Seminar was organized by the Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) in collaboration with Department of International Relations, Conflict and Peace Studies, NUML.

In his opening remarks, Head of the Department of International Relations, Conflict & Peace Studies (IR, CPS) Prof. Dr Zulfiqar Ali Qureshi welcomed the CPGS Delegation and praised the efforts of the team in organizing the Briefing Session. He highlighted the growing problems in Pakistan as a result of terrorism and emphasized the need for collective efforts towards their earliest resolution; efforts such as those undertaken by the Centre in developing and proposing this policy document.

Lt. Gen (R) Syed M Owais HI (M), Member CPGS Advisory Board, in his introductory remarks introduced the students and faculty to CPGS and Project SALAM. He thanked Dr Qureshi and NUML for providing CPGS with this platform to unfold the public discussion on the proposed CPGS National Policy; it was a ‘wonderful opportunity’ he said ‘to engage with students and faculty alike, to be able to take their input on the subject’. He said that initiatives such as these are vital for a coordinated and all-encompassing response against the menace of violent extremism. It is only with the collaboration of all segments of the society and the untiring efforts of its youth that Pakistan can move towards a peaceful and prosperous society.

Senator Sehar Kamran (TI), in her telephonic message to the audience from Jeddah, said that ‘Today’s youth and younger generations are the architects of tomorrow; they will be the ones who shape the future of Pakistan’. She also said, ‘I am pleased to witness the young generation engaged with such important issues today, and I ask them to join hands and strengthen us in Resolving Radical Extremism in Pakistan through peaceful means’.

The briefing highlighted various aspects of the policy paper and its implementation mechanisms. In the Q&A Session that followed, members of the student community and faculty alike actively engaged the expert panel in a candid debate on the various issues highlighted by the policy document. Member CPGS Steering Committee, Prof Dr Tahir Amin conducted the session. He raised many important points in the context of the relationship between violent extremism and religion, governance and socio-economic variables. The event witnessed a significant turnout and a wonderful response from both the students and the faculty.

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