Month: December 2020

Seminar “Piecing Peace Together for A shared Future for Humanity to Observe International Peace Day” (21 Sep 2020)

Seminar “Piecing Peace Together for A shared Future for Humanity to Observe International Peace Day” (21 Sep 2020)

The world observes Peace Day on 21st September. The day is dedicated to promote the ideals of peace through observing cease-fire and non-violence across the globe. It is an established fact that peace not war is the solution of the problems, and that’s how the world has to counter the major issues like poverty, human right violations, hunger, water scarcity and terrorism. Pakistan as a prominent state has been the center of attention due to its geographical location and strategic circumstances. Over the past decade, Pakistan survived through toughest times fighting the war against terrorism, and afterwards reviving the areas that have gone through the worst under the garb of terrorism. As a developing state, Pakistan went through tremendous challenges on international, diplomatic, social, and political fronts. However, staying consistent and firm to the resolve of fighting all the challenges, Pakistan has made the world recognize its efforts to be one of the strongest nation.

In pursuit of the peace activities and to raise voice for humanity, the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, and Parliamentary Kashmir Committee has organized a seminar titled “Piecing Peace Together for A shared Future for Humanity to Observe International Peace Day”.

The seminar commenced with the recitation of Holy Quran followed by the National Anthem.

Welcoming Remarks by Ms. Sabah Aslam

The seminar was hosted by Ms. Sabah Aslam, founder and director of Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution. In the welcoming remarks she highlighted and questioned the role of UN in establishing peace in Palestine and in Illegally Indian occupied Kashmir. Furthermore the change global political scenarios require a new discourse for attaining peace. This seminar is expected to be a key step in achieving the desired outcomes of peace in the region. 

Nabeel Munir – Additional secretary United Nations

Mr Nabeel Munir in his presentation explained the Role of Pakistan in UN Peace keeping throughout the world. He said that the policy to join UN was based on the principles of founding fathers of firm commitment to peacekeeping.

Pakistan’s role -Tangible manifestation of our contribution in international peace keeping

200,000 personnel have contributed in peacekeeping missions, over past six decades including army, police, and other institutions.  They have participated in 47 missions across 26 countries. Over 157 peacekeepers lost their lives. Currently there are 4400 Pakistani peacekeepers in 9 peacekeeping missions. Apart from peace keeping, Pakistan is also focused on providing financial aid, norm building, and on close collaboration with UN secretary general, along with different training institutes. Mr Nabeel also highlighted the role of women who made their impact in UN missions. He also mentioned the prominent ambassadors of Pakistan in UN, and the military commanders who have participated in UN peacekeeping missions.

ASAD QAISER- Speaker National Assembly

Mr Asad Qaiser was the chief guest of the seminar. Asad Qaiser began his address thanking Shehryar Afridi to arrange the seminar on International Peace day. He said that Islam and Peace are strongly interlinked with each other. It is worth noticing that anything linked with Prophet Muhammad SAW, was connected with peace. Moreover, Prime Minister Imran Khan has also emphasized on an Islamic state based on the principles of peace and Islam. However, Islam has never asked us to compromise on the principles that garb freedom and protection of religion and dignity.

Palestinians and Kashmiris have not surrendered to the anti-Islamic states. He said that Human rights violations by India has resulted in 22,000 women becoming widows, martyrdom of thousands of youth, and hundreds of women were raped. The speaker urge the UN to enforce the peace in these states, while Kashmiris will never give up on their cause. Human rights violation have crossed their limits, whereas they won’t stop to sacrifice their lives for the greater cause of freedom.

Speaker pointed out that out of 75 years of UNO, only 26 days of peace were there and the Kashmir issue must be resolved according to the resolutions of United Nations. He further said that the Government of Pakistan has effectively played its role in presenting Kashmir issue at international forums.

The speaker said that we are committed to provide all sorts of collaboration and support to Kashmir Committee, and said that the international community should play an active role in achieving peace in the world. 

Syed Fakhar Imam – Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research

The Federal minister in his address to the seminar expressed his thoughts over peace in the region, and the relation of China and India in Ladakh. He said that with power you can change complex issues. Syed Fakhar mentioned the last year’s speech of PM Imran Khan at UNGA, saying that it was an unprecedented speech in the UN to raise voice for Kashmiris. 

Moreover, he admired the foresightedness of Quaid-e-Azam, and said that he was a modernist who understood the power dynamics so he struggled for the freedom of Muslims.

Adding to that, he emphasized that now it is the time to look Kashmir as the fulcrum of our future. We are incomplete without Kashmir. We have to internally make a new start. We must make our systems competitive. We have to empower our youth and create institutions from which the youth can learn. The political will is going to define the future of Pakistan.

Dr. Waheed Rasool

The seminar was further addressed by Dr Waheed Rasool, Director Institute of Multi-Track Dialogue Development and Diplomatic Studies who expressed his thoughts over the peace in the region, and the relation of India and Pakistan from the perspective of Kashmir and human rights violations in the region. 

Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, former ambassador to the US, India and China and head of UN missions in Iraq and Sudan address the seminar and presented his opinion on the International Peace Day, and the policies adopted by India in oppressing Kashmiris. Moreover, he suggested the role Pakistan must play in handling the Kashmir conflict along with the other challenges it is facing.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed

Mister Mushahid spoke to the seminar and lauded the efforts with the words “A very good initiative on International Peace Day” He said that Quaid-e-Azam’s principle was “Peace within – Peace Without”

He said that India is the only country in the world apart from Israel who has expanded its demographical borders through annexation and through illegal measures. The senator said that August 5 2019 has been a turning point. Interestingly, the world is also showing their attention as the 14 senators from US have written to Pompeo to sanction India. He said that for once a secular democracy is now an architecture of fascism under Modi’s regime. Stating further he said that India is in conflict with its own people and it has become aggressive towards its neighbors. China, Nepal and Pakistan are having issues. Ladakh was claimed by India to be its territory, and China countered it. 

For the future, we have to observe the Palestine issue. We have a principle position on Palestine and we are very clear on Kashmir. Peace of Pakistan is inextricably linked with peace of Kashmir. We are firmly committed to the resolve. “Kashmir and Palestine issues are two important issues in the world at the moment and we want these issues to be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the people and the resolutions of the United Nations (UN)”, he said.

Ghazala Saif

Ms Ghazala Saif expressed here remarks at the seminar saying that piecing peace together is the need of the time. If two nuclear powers get into a war, we have to think about the consequences. India is showing all sorts of atrocities that are unacceptable. Conflict resolution will come when both the countries go through a dialogue on Kashmir, and Kashmiris deserve the right of determination. Kashmiris have wrapped their loved one in the flag of Pakistan, and peace is the only solution.

Nations cannot be built with hate.

Sardar Masood Khan – President Azad Jammu & Kashmir

Speaking on the sub-theme “Peace Quest for Kashmir: Hunting ways under Indian occupation and global moral regression”, the president said that UN has failed to resolve the Kashmir conflict. The UN couldn’t held India accountable for the war crimes against the Kashmiris, and the settlement of Non-Kashmiri Hindu citizens in IIOJK. He said that there is no agenda of UN on Kashmir. He added that “The UN has no agenda for peace in Kashmir; no process for peace-making, peacekeeping or peacebuilding for the 14 million people living in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir who are under direct attack of 900,000 strong occupation forces.”

The silence of the global powers have encouraged India to continue its reign of terror in Kashmir. “With the exception of Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, China and a few Nordic countries, no other country spoke up openly for Kashmir,” he said.

The AJK president said that the dialogue with India is impossible without having Kashmiris at the table. He said that India has used the ruse of bilateral talks as a method to buy time. “India is insincere in its claims for peace in the region.”


Chairman Shehryar Afridi was invited for concluding remarks and he delivered a strong message to the world and invited the opposition parties to join hands for Kashmir cause, keeping aside the political differences. Shehryar Afridi said that my aim is to convey a message loud and clear to movers and shakers of the world. He said that today is one of the most important day for peace and Kashmir Committee is endowed with huge responsibilities.

The Chairman explicated the five major contributions of Pakistan for the world peace.

  1. For the sake of humanity – Pakistan’s sacrifices for saving the people from narcotics
  2. Being an unprecedented host for Afghan muhajireen 
  3. Pakistan’s peacekeeping role
  4. Pakistani diaspora making an impact on international fronts of peacekeeping
  5. Internally displaced persons and their sacrifice for  peace of the world

Shehryar Afridi said that there is a rule that “economically dependent cannot be politically independent” and put forth the example of China, who came out of crisis and are now the powerful leading competitors of the world. China’s position has been so strong that they dominantly controlled the region of Ladakh.

He said that this is the commitment of PM Imran Khan and Kashmir Committee to raise voice for Kashmir. He emphasized on the fact that unity has to be shown by all parties of Pakistan, irrespective of the political ideologies. The time is come, we need to be one! We need to convey and represent the Kashmir issue on the international forums. Youth has to come forward, it’s the digital world and we have to take the initiatives. The stake holders, the political parties to please join hands, to convey a message to those who matter the most, through a proactive approach.

The whole needs to realize the importance of peace and that Kashmir issue must be solved on priority bases. 

The seminar ended with a photo session of the honorable guests with the participants of the seminar.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 9: CPEC: The Next Mile (Sep 7, 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 9: CPEC: The Next Mile (Sep 7, 2020)

On Monday, September 7, 2020, the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a Webinar titled “CPEC: The Next Mile”. The webinar was part of the IICR’s Globe 2020 Webinar Series. The webinar entailed the coming aspects and designs for CPEC in its second phase on which expert panel shared their views.

The Session was moderated by Chairman IICR Maj. Gen Raza Muhammad®. The esteemed panelist included Prof. Dr. Song  Zhihui Deputy Dean School of International Studies Sichuan University, China, Mr. Ling Jianke Executive Representative of Power China Pakistan, and Mr. Hassan Daud Butt, CEO KP-BOIT.

The session was started with Dr. Zhihui, who highlighted the importance of Special Economic zones. He said that some of the Zones in the first phase were not designed according to the requirements of the industry thus there is a need to redesign SEZs in the second phase and relocate industries in the second phase of CPEC as well. Adding more he said that there could be special zones within SEZ’s or apart from SEZ’s under which leather and furniture industries shall be built which as well can be an addition to benefits from CPEC. He also highlighted that the policies related to SEZ’s shall be the same so that the companies which are willing to come and invest do not have to face many hurdles. Lastly, he said that to harness the maximum and robust development of SEZ’s direct communication lines in the shape of flight routes shall be established as well.

Mr. Ling discussed the technical points related to CPEC. He said that Power China is fully contributing to the designing of the second phase of CPEC with full enthusiasm. Commenting on the initial phase of CPEC, he said that in Pakistan in the duration of the first phase lacked the power influx which was the reason that the first phase focused on power and road infrastructure to connect the dots. After the completion of the first phase, the issue of load shedding has largely been resolved. Adding more to his part he said that the ML-1 is needed to be built quickly so the communication lines can be strengthened in full capacity. With strong communication lines, economic stability can be harnessed quickly. Commenting further he said that electricity consumption shall be more on commercial activity whereas 50% of the power consumption currently is on the household sector. He also said that China is shifting its industry in East Asian countries for cheap labor whereas Pakistan could be one where China can shift its industry to further strengthening the iron bond. He also said that the Heavy industry shall be the priority for Pakistan which can create more Jobs. Moreover, Pakistan can intensify its food export as China is a country with a population of 1.3 billion people and thus can be a great importer.

Mr. Hasan Daud who has also served as Project Director to CPEC. Mr. Daud began by stating that Pakistan is going through a great transformative phase and there is an industrial revolution knocking at the door for Pakistan. Reflecting on the future Mr. Daud said that for the next 50 years China would be the global engine for growth and development without any competition. He also said that the economic and political model of China should be academically studied; it includes lessons for Pakistan especially the fact that how China paced its growth in less than 30 years pulling out millions from abject poverty. Commenting on the current situation he said that all three SEZ’s i.e. Rashakai, Dhabeji, and Faislabad are already attracting investments which is a great fortune for Pakistan. Adding more to power projects under CPEC he said that in the first phase the electricity generation was as per plan and by 2025 Pakistan will be able to produce 7000MW of electricity. Lastly, he said that Maritime tourism is also one of the great component of CPEC and in Long term plan of CPEC which was published in 2017 it was prototyped as a 1+5 Model. In which 1 is the corridor and 5 are the various port cities.

Concluding the session Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad® said that it has been a well-established fact by the scholars that it is the Asian Century and the future belongs to Asia in which China is actively playing its part. Reflecting on the history he said that China never colonized any other state rather for centuries it believes in peacefully resolving matters despite having the capacity to resolve conflicts militarily. Adding more he said that one of evidence is the fact that China had 13 border settlement issues out of 11 are being resolved, leaving the Indian and Bhutan’s aside. Commenting on the myths and propaganda he added that both the countries are unanimous on countering the elements which are sabotaging the CPEC and it will continue to proceed with full zeal. The session ended with the vote of thanks to the speakers.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 8: Humanity Under Siege-Unheard Voices of Kashmir (10 Aug 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 8: Humanity Under Siege-Unheard Voices of Kashmir (10 Aug 2020)

On Monday August 10, 2020 Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a webinar titled “Humanity Under Siege: Unheard Voices of Kashmir”. The webinar was part of IICR’s exclusive Globe 2020 Series.

A set of diverse scholars were on the panel which included, Maj. Gen Raza Muhammad®, Dr. Salma Malik, Assistant professor DSS QAU, Mr. Altaf Hussiai Wani, Senior Hurriyat Leader, Mr. Turgay Evren, Turkish Poet and human rights activist, Mr. Yasir Rehman, Senior TV anchor  and Mr. Ahmed Qureshi, Senior Journalist. The session was moderated by Ms. Sabah Aslam, Founder IICR.

The session was kicked off by the comments from Maj. Gen Raza Muhammad® who highlight new wave of Modism in India which is mixture of populism and BJP’s extremist ideologies. He inferred that Mr. Modi won’t listen because the person who has scrapped article 35-A from the Indian constitution is determined in his ideas. He further added that the international community is constantly looking the other way when it comes to Kashmir. It is because of the economic relevance of India. Proposing further the chairman IICR said that Pakistan needs to muster international support in a particular manner that the actions shall not be restricted to just statements.

The next on panel was a poet and human right activist from Turkey, Mr. Turgay Evern. Taking back to the colonial tactics Mr. Evern said that when British colonized Egypt the first thing they did was incarcerate the story tellers because storytellers tell their people about the legacy of their nation. He said that it is colonial tactic to not to let the pain spread and same thing is being inflicted by the Indian authorities on the people of Kashmir. Adding further Mr. Evern said that art can be more effective than guns so we need find artistic ways to tell the world of the anguish which Kashmiri’s are facing and for that we need mobilization of creativity.

Dr. Salma Malik was next on the panel who highlighted the gendered infliction of violence in Kashmir. She said that despite Indian forces are indulged in indiscriminate violence females are also on crosshair of Indian authorities, mainly because females are generation carriers. She added that there is a need to touch the human nerve in the matter of Kashmir. Dr. Malik added the demographic shift which has been opposed on the people of Kashmir has forced them to resist otherwise Kashmir’s are mellow in their nature. While proposing she said that there is also a need of introspection in Pakistan. It is time that the youth of Pakistan shall be made realize the pain of Kashmiri through soft means i.e. animation and art.

Senior Hurriyat leader Mr. Altaf Hussain Wani while speaking to the panel said that 2019 remains to be one of the darkest years in Kashmir’s recent history in which Kashmiris witnessed an ugly face of India’s neo- colonialism and its consequences that have manifested on the ground in many striking ways. Adding further he said that the year saw the loss of Kashmir’s special status guaranteed to it under article 370 of the Indian constitution and dissolution of the state into two union territories under the so-called Jammu and Kashmir reorganization act 2019.

While sharing the resilience of the Kashmiri people Mr. Wani said that the people of Kashmir have outlived all Indian nefarious designs and draconian laws and they will outlive. We should mobilize all available spaces of art, literature and storytelling to create awareness among international community Political leadership of Pakistan and AJK should take steps to United the strength we have in diaspora to strengthen lobbying. Mr. Wani also commended the recent moves of government of Pakistan which show intent in to do something serious for Kashmir.

The next speaker in line was Mr. Yasir Rehman. He Stressed that we need a reevaluation and consider the developing ground situation in the valley by Indian forces and world response for Kashmiris or against Kashmiris, then we will come to know in what areas we have successful in drum beating & making the World realize. He said that our goal should first be to bring ease in Kashmiri lives, to highlight the issue and make the world take act rather mere lip service because Kashmiris want and need action now.

The last panlesit was Ahmed Qureshi. While showing satisfaction over the reaction of world Mr. Qureshi said that Kashmir has now been vocalized internationally as well as nationally as compared to the precious years. He said that prior to 2016 the issue was not in light and there was practically no work on Kashmir by international media whereas after 2016 there had been a swift shift and world started to look at the Kashmir issue. He further added that previously the issue of Kashmir was even politicized in Pakistan however now there seems to have a national consensus on the issue now. Recommending further Mr. Qureshi added that there needs to have new approach to reach the areas where Pakistan is lacking.

The session was then followed by question and answer session and concluding remarks by Ms. Sabah Aslam. The webinar was attended by diverse audience including, students, scholars, academics and senior professionals.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 7: Turkey-Qatar Alliance & Future of the Middle East (Aug 6, 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 7: Turkey-Qatar Alliance & Future of the Middle East (Aug 6, 2020)

On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution, IICR, organized a webinar titled “Turkey – Qatar Alliance and The Future of Middle East”.  The webinar was part of IICR’s exclusive series Globe 2020.

The esteemed panelist included Prof. Dr. Hamit Ersoy, Faculty member Sabahattin University, Dr. Ibrahim Karatas, Columnist and academician and Dr. Alihan Limoncuoglu political scientist and an academician. The Session was moderated by Ms. Sabah Aslam, CEO, IICR.

While speaking to the panel Dr. Alihan added that the bond between two countries is embedded in history, when Turks advanced to the Middle Eastern grounds they were welcomed by the Qataris forging an alliance with the ottomans. Adding further he said that since AK party got into power there has been great shift in Qatar-Turkey alliance in shape of increased momentum, this is due to the fact that the prime focus of AK’s foreign policy was to establish friendly and strong ties in Middle East. He said that during the Qatar crisis apart from Iran, Turkey was standing tall with its Middle Eastern ally which meant a lot in international relations. Moreover this cooperation is also extending towards defense industry as well, he added. Commenting further on Middle Eastern politics Dr. Alihan said that Middle Eastern politics cannot be imagined without the interference of the bigger powers and some of these bigger powers were involved in drawing the borders of Middle East as colonizers and they will also be vital in bringing peace in Middle East.

The next on panel was Prof. Dr. Hamit. While sharing some historical facts he said that Al Thani family is ruling the land since the 1825 and Ottomans had cordial relations with Al-Thani family since then. Adding more he said that Turkey despite its alienation from Middle Eastern land always had tried to form working relations with the Middle Eastern states because it is vital as ever. Adding further he noted that the conceptual framework on which this alliance is based is military alliance as Qatar needed a strong military reliance in order to survive the bitter days. Moreover economic need is also fortifying this alliance between both the countries, he said. Concluding his part Dr. Hamit said that maintaining alliance is difficult than its formation particularly in this robustly changing geo-politics of the world.

The last panelist was Dr. Ibrahim.  He said that the modern alliance between both the states was structured since president Erdogan came into power in 2002. Adding further he said that the alliance is a necessity rather than a desire. As Qatar is a small country in among the Middle Eastern giants and it needed to side with an outsider in order to protect itself and it reciprocated on side of Turkey as it needed a strong ally in the Middle Eastern land. Commenting further he said that after the failed coup attempt in turkey there came a swift and aggressive shift in Erdogan’s foreign policy, which can be seen in its intervention in Middle Eastern affairs. The like mindedness of both the countries is also a main factor in the alliance between Turkey and Qatar.

The webinar ended with the concluding remarks by Ms. Sabah Aslam, CEO IICR and question and answer session.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series: 5-Day Online Workshop “Knowing Japan” (13 – 17 July 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series: 5-Day Online Workshop “Knowing Japan” (13 – 17 July 2020)

To create better understanding and acquaintance about Japan among the people of Pakistan, the Embassy of Japan in collaboration with the Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a five-day webinar series from 13 to 17 July which was largely participated by the people hailing from various sections of the Pakistani society.

Mr. Shindo Yusuke, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Pakistan, presented his lectures during this first-ever webinar series that included the topics Japan – its people, society and tradition, education in Japan-key to Japan’s development, secrets of Japan’s economic development, Japanese culture and Japan-Pakistan relationship.

Mr. Shindo, in his lectures, started from the historic background of Japan and its age-old traditions and culture later explained in detail about the education system in Japan, the secrets Japan’s economic development and the current level of Japan-Pakistan bilateral relations. Mr. Shindo noted that Japan-Pakistan bilateral relations are based on mutual respect, cooperation, and shared interests and these relations are growing further in multi-dimensions.

The participants of the week-long lecture series raised many thought-provoking questions during the question-answer sessions and deliberated upon the modern day Japan and its achievements. Mr. Shindo thanked the participants for their interest in Japan and their exchange of views on important issues. The webinar was an innovative attempt by the Embassy to continue its mission to promote Japan and its culture and values during this difficult time under COVID-19.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 5: EU-Pak Relations amid Covid-19 (June 24, 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 5: EU-Pak Relations amid Covid-19 (June 24, 2020)

On June 24, 2020, Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) has organized a webinar titled “EU-Pak Relations amid Covid-19”under its IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series. The distinguished guest speaker was H.E. Ms Anne Marchal, Charge d’Affaires, Delegation of European Union to Pakistan.

Ms. Sabah Aslam, CEO, IICR, moderated the session. In her opening remarks she said that the world is struggling with Covid-19, the international order is also being re-designed in this regard. There is also a room for forging of new relations or strengthening the existing ones. European Union has always played a constructive role in Pakistan; however, the global dynamics have changed now and thus there is a need to explore more avenues to enhance cooperation. IICR in this regard is hoping to create a lead to new discourse between EU-PAK relations through the webinar.  Topics covered during the discussion were:

  1. How EU-PAK relations will be re-defined amid Covid-19
  2. What could be new avenues of cooperation between EU-PAK
  3. How to deal with migration crisis in these times
  4. EU’s take on Kashmir and CAA
  5. Human Rights violations in Kashmir during Covid -19

Ms. Marchal while enlightening the audience, said that Covid-19 affected the whole world and states are taking unprecedented measures like travel restriction, social distancing etc. the prime most is the health issues and policies. During the Covid-19 time, the bilateral relation between EU and Pakistan is facing numerous challenges like travel restriction and limited trade, and limited people-to-people contacts and research visits. But there are opportunities like impetus among the donor, to exchange amongst International community. Under the essential travel umbrella, in order to repatriate EU citizens and long term permanent citizens from Pakistan to EU states, two flights were operated with the help of German Embassy. Redefining the state operation to meet the objectives during pandemic. EU’s solidarity in terms of money during the pandemic is important, as other than public health, as the factor affected the most is state’s economy.  EU office in Pakistan brought the funds and grants to ease the needs of the affected poor class. We want people to reflect and bring innovative ideas and voice to counter this crisis. We are going to have a world leaders’ summit and concert line-up for 27 pledging events to generate money for Corona Virus Global response, it’s a worldwide event. She further said that webinar is a good forum to strengthen public diplomacy, it’s a 21st century diplomacy.

Ms. Marchal said that on 25 June, it’s the one year of EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan, it offers a new framework to hold dialogue on political and security aspects and give guidance on bilateral cooperation on wide range of topics for instance energy, climate change etc., and high level engagements. The important thing in relations is to keep the momentum and keeping the dialogue open. Political engagement is essential for a healthy relationship. One of the key pillar of EU-Pakistan relationship besides people to people is trade. EU is granting preference to Pakistan i.e. GSP+ status. Pakistan is not a least develop country, we encourage Pakistan to fulfil the obligations it has subscribed as member to these 27 international conventions for instance human rights and good governance. Migration is a political matter in the EU. EU is taking a leadership role on the Syrian crisis and alleviating of suffering of peoples.  EU also appreciate Pakistan’s Afghan refugee dealings. EU-Pakistan Readmission Agreement that aims at facilitating the return of illegal immigrants from that country but also nationals from other countries who have transited through Pakistan before arriving in the EU; was enforced for number of years, it functioning but not fully.

Furthermore, while answering the Kashmir issue, she said that it has to be resolved through peaceful resolutions. EU Parliament is always been very vocal on human rights. For EU it is important to have a peaceful resolution to this situation. EU appreciate Pakistan’s role in Human Rights Council in Geneva. She said that due to Pakistan’s effort, Kashmir issue now a days in limelight. However, regarding the humanitarian aid to Kashmiri people, she said in some special cases we keep the secrecy and sometimes EU cannot offer assistance to the entities if they don’t permit. Moreover, as far as visit of European parliamentarian to Indian occupied Kashmir is concerned, they have visited in their private capacity and got accessed to the IOK and is shown what the host wanted them to see.

In her concluding remarks, she said she wanted to see South Asia as an integrated region, and a green economy and green recovery of the region. She said the old trends coming back like visiting nearby areas. It’s time to have a regional approach and connectivity for growth and prosperity.

The webinar was attended by professionals and students of NDU and Quaid-i-Azam University.

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 4: Kashmir: A Utopian Land with Dystopian Lives (June 20, 2020)

IICR Globe 2020 Webinar Series Chapter 4: Kashmir: A Utopian Land with Dystopian Lives (June 20, 2020)

The Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR) organized a webinar titled “Kashmir: A Utopian Land with Dystopian Lives”.

The webinar was part of IICR’s Exclusive Globe 2020 which covered diverse discourse on Kashmir’s past, present and future. It also included China-India stand-off.

The event was moderated by Yasir Rehman and the panelists included Lt. Gen (retd) Raza Muhammad Khan, Ms Sabah Aslam, CEO IICR, Major Gen (retd) Raza Muhammad, Ahmed Qureshi, senior journalist on Security and Kashmir and Altaf Ahmed Butt, President of Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement.

Altaf Ahmed Bhat addressing the session highlighted the plight of the people of occupied Kashmir. He said that Kashmir was under triple lockdown: The first in 1989, second after 5th August 2019, and third one due to COVID-19.

Giving firsthand information from the occupied Kashmir, he said that in past 310 days of lockdown, 170 youth were martyred, 1500 people were critically injured, 995 houses damaged or demolished while more than 100 women were molested during cordon and search operations by the Indian forces.

He appealed to the Government of Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan to announce relief package for the besieged people of occupied Kashmir suffering from lockdown and COVID-19.

He also urged the United Nations to help transferring the relief funds to occupied Kashmir and put pressure on India to allow international health organizations to reach Kashmir and provide health and medical facilities to the people of Kashmir if those funds cannot be delivered directly.

Lt. Gen (retd) Raza Muhammad Khan in his speech said that the unilateral actions taken by India in occupied Kashmir had put the peace of entire region at stake and on the verge of devastation as all the stakeholders of the Kashmir dispute were atomic powers. He added that Pakistan should give communicative support to Kashmir through international media. He pointed out that India was already an apartheid country and was now facing isolation as its relations were becoming feeble with neighbouring countries.

Ahmed Qureshi, Maj. Gen (Retd) Raza Muhammad and Ms. Sabah Aslam in their addresses highlighted the Indian brutalities and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

IICR GLOBE 2020 Webinar Series, Chapter 3: From Inter US-Taliban to Intra-Afghan Dialogue

IICR GLOBE 2020 Webinar Series, Chapter 3: From Inter US-Taliban to Intra-Afghan Dialogue

9 June 2020

US- Taliban peace deal was not an easy job. It took years to conclude. Initial efforts that commenced as early as 2011 continued experiencing crests and troughs. Hiccups, delays and discontinuations and recontinuations kept taking turns. This peace deal also took renewed and very hard efforts of about a year plus. The peace deal is not an end in itself. However, it may be viewed as a ray of hope and a meaningful step towards building long lasting peace in Afghanistan through intra-Afghan dialogue and power sharing. US has committed to withdraw all its troops in 14 months. The peace deal has started facing retarders already. President Ashraf Ghani appears to be out of step with USA and is pursuing his own political scheme, yet one can be optimistic that US will be able to persuade him to engage in dialogue with Taliban and honor US-Taliban peace deal for better future of Afghanistan. However given the history of Afghan land all aspects seem to be hypothetical and wishful desires.

Michael Kugelman (Topic: US-Taliban Peace Agreement and Current US Policy on Afghanistan)
US goal in Afghanistan is simple. We all know that the President Trump wants to get out of Afghanistan and move its forces out of Afghanistan. This has been clear since the start of his presidency. He was never interested in military commitment in Afghanistan and when he announced his Afghanistan strategy in 2017, he said that he went against his own instincts when he agreed to stay in Afghanistan at that time. He was never comfortable for the stay.
He pursued talks with Taliban he wanted an agreement that would give him political cover to get out of Afghanistan. There is a reason in why the US or Trump administration succeeded in getting a deal done with the Talibans, which is that Trump Administration was willing to do what Barrack Obama was not. That is to hold bi-lateral talks without the Afghan Government. Talibans have been long interested in talks with US. They wanted US forces to be moved out of Afghanistan.

Rahimullah Yousafzai (Topic: Intra-Afghan Dialogue and The Future of Afghan Nation)
There have been many ups and down after the Afghan peace deal has been signed. However, there is more hope that intra-afghan dialogue will happen. The Afghan peace deal has two main points i) the US forces will withdraw from Afghanistan and ii) The Afghan land shall not be used against United States. Nevertheless, there are also few hindrances as well. One was the release of the prisoners by both sides and next one was the Afghanistan’s political issue. The later was solved few days back in form of coalition rule.
The deal is a plus for Taliban so they will propose quick proceedings however, for the sitting government, that could mean sharing of power and so they may adopt delaying tactics. For this, Taliban can use their military pressure, or any acts of violence in order to compel the central government of Afghanistan for a consensus as a result of an intra-Afghan dialogue, which will not be an easy task to perform.

Trump wanted a deal, any deal to give him political cover to get out of Afghanistan and he did sign a deal, which is deeply flawed and very generous to Taliban. What the deal did? It improved relations between Pakistan and US. It has recognized that Pakistan was very helpful in bringing Taliban to the table. The tricky part is intra-Afghan dialogue in which the role of US would be minimal, but it will be more active in it. Which is evident from the active visits of Zalmay Khaalilzad and Mike Pompeo. However, it is a tricky business to bring Taliban on extended cease-fire timelines and be less violent. If Intra-Afghan Dialogue begins, as it is said that the role of US would be minimized due to the fact it does not compel Taliban’s to reach any deal with afghan government.
Another factor which adds into the equation is the recent UN report on Taliban’s association with Al-Qaeda is highlighted. However, the US has not given serious concern over the report, as it wants to keep the deal in play. While in US even if Joe Biden wins the election in November there is less chance that policy related to Afghanistan would change due to strong bi-partisan support for the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Concluding Remarks:
It is for sure without any second opinion that Pakistan has suffered most in this whole Afghan saga. It has suffered in ever international and national aspect including huge monetary and human loss. The tripartite which was initiated in order to bring peaceful solution to the Afghanistan’s everlasting pain, it was highlighted in it that there that there shall be talks with Taliban. However, at that time no one anticipated it as a viable solution. Most of the people though that Taliban can be overcome by force. However, here we are with a paper determining solution.
It is important to know the will of the Afghanistan’s central government, as without them the half of the deal would be ineffective. If Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah are willing to share their power with the Taliban, then there can be foresightedness of peace.
• United States shall not stop its aid to the Afghanistan until the point or time of sustainability in Afghanistan. As after April 2021, there would be no or very minute presence in the Afghanistan, so not doing so would collapse the whole Afghan structure all the sudden.
• All parties shall consider the spoilers whether they are internal or external. There shall pe proper mechanisms, which can be employed in order to minimize the role of spoilers.
• There shall be regional arrangement about the ownership of the agreement. Regional arrangement means those countries with effective role in Afghanistan such as: Pakistan, KSA, Turkey, Russia, China and Iran.