Islamabad, April 20, 2015: The President Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS), Senator Sehar Kamran (T.I.) has welcomed the Chinese President Xi Jinping on his maiden visit to Pakistan. She said Pakistan and China’s relations are exemplary in today’s day and age, as both countries have a wonderful record of standing beside one another in the hour of need.
Senator Kamran said this visit of the Chinese President is vital for Pakistan as the two sides are currently engaged in Pakistan-China Economic Corridor project, which will truly be a game-changer, for not only Pakistan, but for the region. This project has the potential to enhance economic activities manifold and will help in further development and bringing prosperity to Pakistan.
Senator Sehar Kamran said although the two countries only share a border of 523 kilometres, the level of cooperation and trust elicited in terms of strategic partnership, cultural exchanges has been ‘higher than the Himalayas and deeper than the oceans’. She further said that with the changing geo-political and geo-economic scenario, the relations between Pakistan and China will play a vital role in determining the future of the region.
Senator Kamran reminisced how it was Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who first had the vision to build a strategic relationship with China, and that too at a time when it was isolated. It would not be wrong to surmise, therefore, that the progress we witness in Pakistan-China’s relations today is the direct result of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s efforts. As Foreign Minister, it was Mr. Bhutto who signed the Pakistan-China border agreement on 02 March 1963, followed by the Border Protocol in 1965. These two agreements alone have become instrumental in paving the way for a strong, durable, and multi-dimensional relationship in the years that followed.
Even the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, following in the footsteps of her father, worked hard to maintain the special relationship with China. When Shaheed Benazir Bhutto came to power in 1988, she announced her first official foreign visit would be to China.
The legacy was followed by PPP’s Co-Chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari. During his tenure as President, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari laid special emphasis on Pakistan’s relations with China. It should be remembered that the foundation of the Pakistan-China economic corridor was laid during the last PPP government.
Furthermore, Senator Sehar Kamran said this year also holds a special significance where the relations between the two are concerned, as 2015 has been declared as “Friendly Exchange Year”. She said we must fully utilise the opportunities presented in Pakistan-China’s relations to take our two great countries to further heights.
Islamabad, April 16, 2015: The Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) organized an In-House meeting of the Steering Committee for project ‘SALAM – Sensitize, Access, Link, Act, Monitor’, which aims at innovating means to resolve radical extremism in Pakistan. The agenda of the meeting included a review of the progress on the National Action Plan (NAP) and recommendation of measures for the effective implementation of counter-terrorism efforts.
The meeting was attended by prominent religious, philosophical and legal experts and practitioners, as well as university students.
The Steering Committee recommended that for effective implementation of the National Action Plan, both short and long term strategies need to be identified. A national census must also be held at the earliest. A proper record of foreigners visiting Pakistan should be kept. It was also suggested that ex-servicemen from the armed forces ought to be inducted into the police force, or an equivalent ‘national guard’ for the security of sensitive infrastructure and government organizations.
The government must also pay serious heed to working on reforms in the judiciary, health and education sectors. Furthermore, cooperation between provincial and federal governments needs to be improved.
President CPGS, Senator Sehar Kamran (T.I.) in her concluding remarks stated that at the moment, the army is carrying the weight incountering terrorism within the country, and that the government must also step-up and assume responsibility for social, economic as well as physical rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons in order for the national counter-terrorism push to be a success. She said rehabilitation without providing basic facilities would only lead to failure. She further said policy-making forums need to be utilized for effective implementation of the National Action Plan.
The roundtable was organized as part of the Centre’s Project JOHAR, which aims at promoting a better understanding of the contemporary nuclear debate through converging and synthesizing different perspectives in the second nuclear age. Its aims included understanding the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) debate contemporaneously among the participants; critically analyzing its review process and the challenges that the upcoming Review Conference (RevCon) would be facing. Two esteemed experts, Dr. Tughral Yamin, Associate Dean at the Peace and Conflict Studies department, NUST and Munawar Saeed Bhatti, former Ambassador to the EU, Luxembourg and Belgium, graced the occasion and spoke on the subject at great length followed by a spirited discussion on various aspects of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and regime. The discussion was chaired by former Defence Secretary of Pakistan, General (R) Asif Yasin Malik HI(M).
In this context, the issues relating to nuclear disarmament, right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy and prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons were very coherently discussed. The main challenges faced by the NPT review process, i.e., modernization of nuclear forces by P-5, nuclear weapons free zone (NWFZ) establishment in the Middle East, progress on the 2010 action plan of the NPT RevCon and Iran’s nuclear programme were raised during the debate. The ‘exceptionalism’ approach exercised by the international community in implementing the nuclear nonproliferation norms came under criticism. The participants observed that the NPT is seriously eroding because of issues of noncompliance by state parties. The emerging geo-political issues, selective application in implementation of NPT clauses and the recommendations of 2010 NPT RevCons may become a pitfall for the upcoming 2015 NPT RevCon.
The roundtable was successful in producing a comprehensive and insightful analysis with the aid ofeminent scholars, practitioners and academics regarding the issues faced by the NPT RevCon process.
Ambassador (R)Munawar Saeed Bhatti
Former Ambassador to EU, Luxembourg and Belgium
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