LAHORE : Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir has said that the today the world is in a state of flux dominated by a number of emerging issues, strifes and non-traditional threats which are a risk for global peace and security.
The President made these remarks while speaking at the inaugural session of the two-day seminar in Lahore on “Threats to Security in the 21st Century: A Global Way Forward”, organized by the School of Integrated Social Sciences, University of Lahore.
The President said that the world order must be based on upholding human rights and not dictated by realpolitik, xenophobia and warmongering. If the international rule of law does not become the norm, the world would, once again, plunge into a catastrophic global war, he said.
President AJK said that numerous challenges plague the world today creating disarray like terrorism, insurgencies, asymmetric warfare, civil wars. He added that issues like climate change, demographic changes, cyber conflict, energy deficits, water and food scarcity cannot be ignored.
Warfare, he said, has transcended its traditional parameters and today the use of drones and 4th and 5th generation warfare has transformed the global concepts of war. He said that today Europe has become a victim of xenophobic and Islamophobic elements, while hate speech and prejudice have become a norm all over the world.
“Unfortunately, the rule of law and human rights has taken a back seat as strategic, economic and political interests has taken precedence in the new world order”, he said.
Projects like the Belt and Road Initiative is aimed at promoting economic connectivity between Asia, Europe and Africa, yet it is criticised by many. He said the world should understand that CPEC is designed for connecting countries, building transnational communities for prosperity, and creating conditions for peaceful neighbourhoods.
President Masood Khan said that Pakistan faces threats from India, the situation in Afghanistan, terrorism, subversion and proxy wars. He said that these existential threats have to be addressed with resolve and dedication. President Masood Khan said that peace and stability in South Asia has always been threatened by Indian hostilities towards Pakistan and its constant interventions in the affairs of its neighbouring nations
The President said that Pakistan also faces other challenges like poverty, human development, rapid urbanization, social problems, political instability. He said that we must make conscious efforts in addressing these issues which are directly and indirectly threatening our national security.
He said Pakistan’s economy is going through the radical transformation and we have yet to achieve our full potential. He said despite the challenges many opportunities also await us. He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has thrown up huge opportunities for Pakistan adding that CPEC is not a substitute but a catalyst that will drastically improve connectivity and promote constructive economic activity within the region. He further said that our huge youth bulge is an asset but they may end up as a liability if we fail to equip them with modern education and necessary skills. similarly, we have a huge potential of maritime trade due to our access to the waters of the Indian Ocean giving us access to the Strait of Hormuz.
Speaking on the situation in Kashmir, the President said that Kashmir is a flashpoint and human rights issue that needs immediate redressal. He said that the international community has adopted dual standards and it is their responsibility to bring India to task over the gross human right violations taking place in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
he said 700,000 Indian occupation forces under the guise of Lawless laws have imposed a reign of terror in IOK where the Kashmiris are being openly murdered, illegally incarcerated, women are dishonoured and the Joint Resistance Leadership is kept under constant surveillance. He said it is our responsibility to raise the profile of Kashmir issue at every international forum. “Even after 70 years of coercive tactics, political manoeuvring, demonising the Kashmiris as terrorists and economic blandishments, India has been unable to fully integrate this region. The Kashmiris till this day are struggling for their freedom and paying for it through their own blood”, he said
Speaking to his audience on the development projects in Azad Kashmir, the President said that Azad Kashmir focusing on good governance through ensuring the rule of law, accountability, meritocracy and transparency. He said under the auspices of CPEC, 4 mega projects including 2 hydropower projects, a Special Economic Zone in Mirpur and the Mansehra-Mirpur Expressway will be built which are at different stages of planning and implementation.
Azad Kashmir, he said is one of the most beautiful places on earth and efforts are being made to make it a top destination for eco-tourism. he said plans are underway to construct a 200-kilometre Tourism Corridor which will pass through all the scenic areas. this corridor, he said, will have all the modern facilities along with theme parks, sports parks for adventure tourism, log huts and motels.
The President urged the audience to strive towards building an economically, political stronger and stable Pakistan; a resourceful Pakistan not harkening back but going forward. we have to change our mindset from dependence to independence and interdependence; with a prudent foreign policy helping not only to further our relations with China and Russia but also to work on our turbulent relations with the United States.
Orignally published by NNI