Significance of Islamabad Security Dialogue | By Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi


Significance of Islamabad Security Dialogue

Objectively, Islamabad Security Dialogue (ISD) is a pivotal regional and international policy platform for critical thinking via cross-fertilization of policy ideas on the strategic issues, particularly in the domain of peace and security challenges and opportunities confronting the world at large hosted by the Government of Pakistan.

The second iteration of the two-day hybrid event took place in Islamabad (April 1-2) , which was attended by international thinkers and scholars, renowned international media persons, practitioners of international law, members of the Federal Cabinet, diplomatic corps, former government officials, academia, think-tanks and civil society members.

Addressing the participants, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said, “The international community’s collective security rests in our ability to integrate our shared goals of global prosperity to an equitable international system resisting the external pressures.

Pakistan, as a country located at the crossroads of economic and strategic confronts, is navigating these shared challenges in our immediate region and through our partnership in the international community’’.

In his key message to the ISD participants, the UN SG said, ‘’I congratulate Pakistan for hosting the second Islamabad Security Dialogue.

Pakistan continues to play an important role in the maintenance of global peace and security, including as one of the top contributors to UN peacekeeping operations, and as a hub between South, Central and West Asia’’.

While answering to the American journalist’s question, regarding the Sino-Pak security cooperation in the next decade, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) said, “China is Pakistan’s neighbour and very important friend.

It has helped us in many ways. ” The Army Chief used the example of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to caution Pakistan’s massive arch-rival India against launching another war with his country “This has given a heart to smaller countries that they can still defend their territory with smaller but agile forces against an aggression by a bigger country by carrying out selective modernization in equipment and adopting noble ideas,” General Bajwa said.

He also rightly emphasized upon the passive western response to our buying of military equipment from Germany, France and the US and consequently our warranted military equipment dependency on China.

In this regard, Army Chief astutely settled the western accounts regarding its double standard policy vis-a-vis Pakistan despite its heroic role in the US waged war on terror.

Simply put, Pakistan faces a multiple policy challenge in terms of peace and security, regional and strategic stability, economic and sustainable development.

Sadly, today, we are mostly facing the same situation in a backwatered Afghanistan when the Russians had left it in 1989.

Isolating the Afghan community with the rest of world is absolutely fatal. Thus, the international community must shoulder its responsibility and live up to its commitments especially for development assistance in Afghanistan.

It is also necessary to help the Afghan government overcome the problems posed after the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, 2021.

The poor governance-cum-political and economic instability is the core problem facing by the Afghan society.

It must also be recognized that narco-terrorism – nexus between drug-traffickers and terrorists continue to pose a major security threat to the entire world.

Thus, peace and stability in Afghanistan intrinsically depend on the success of national reconciliation and reconstruction that brings about the change in the of the people.

The second big challenge which the South Asian region faces is the waning status of neighborly relations between the two arms-twisted states.

India constantly tries to ignore its responsibility as a peaceful nuclear neighbor. Its constant and blatant human rights violation in Kashmir remains the core of relations between the two states, Modi’s fascist policies clearly serve the impression that India adopts anti peace posture toward Pakistan.

Kashmiris must not be delinked with the peace process on Kashmir. The strategic challenge before India and Pakistan is to resolve the outstanding issue of Kashmir.

The international community can help by encouraging both countries to move forward and make meaningful progress.

In our effort to build a peaceful and secure regional environment, the international community must pressure India to adopt such policies that are significant to ensure durable peace in South Asia.

India’s episode of launching a cruise missile in Pakistan’s air space on March 9 paved the way for horrible consequences as it has alsoundermined the scope of strategic stability/peace in the region.

Pakistan has justifiably demanded a joint investigation of this irresponsible nuclear conduct. USD 2 billion India- Israel Pagasus Intelligence deal-accompanied by the sophisticated Missile system— is a big security threat.

Should India as a nuclear state initiate such misadventures which are full of security miscarriages?

And yet for years, Pakistan has been proposing a policy of nuclear restraint while it is principally opposed to an arms race in strategic or conventional weapons in the region.

But the Indian response is passive on this issue. On the issue of foreign policy, our policy is quite clear that by no means has Pakistan fostered the policy of aligning with any global power camp, but at the same time our policy priorities with our times tested neighbor China demands no revisionist approach, nor any global power should compare our policy options in this regard. Pakistan encourages global efforts to seek the meaningful end of war in Ukraine.

It has been a long time endorsed policy of Pakistan to mediate its peace diplomacy for seeking peaceful settlements of global disputes, particularly the ongoing war in Yemen, and Ukraine Sovereign independence of the people of Iraq, a peaceful deal of the US-Iran nuclear conflict, and above all the long awaited conflict resolutions on Palestine and Kashmir in the light of the UN’s Charter.

On the economic front, Pakistan faces a mammoth challenge of repairing our shipwrecked economy in the post Covid-19 phase.

The hard IMF demands accompanied by the FATF’s neoliberal sanctions have largely deteriorated the growing dynamics of our economy scope as a developing nation.

Pakistan is affirmed on its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a cornerstone of implementing the SDG goals is building on existing alliances and forging new partnerships, leveraging technology and mobilizing innovative sources of finance.

Islamabad is undertaking deep structural reforms to place Pakistan on the path towards sustainable development, but to achieve it, Islamabad requires help from its international partners including China, the EU, US and Japan.

—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.


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