Seminar: For a stable country, citizens come before international commitments: experts

Speakers at a seminar urge for a less ambitious foreign policy.

Express October 11, 2011

The cost of national, regional and global security for Pakistan has come in the form of “massively comprised” rights of its citizens. It’s high time to formulate people-oriented national security, economic and social policies. This was the consensus at a seminar on “Violations and threats to Pakistan’s sovereignty and response”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said a press release issued by the institute here on Monday.

The absence of governance and decision-making at all levels, grim economic and energy situations, and corruption are some of the key challenges being faced by the country, experts said.

SDPI Executive Director Abid Qaiyum Suleri said the immediate economic future of the country seems grim due to worsening energy crises and gas shortages amid increasing demand. He said that IMF-government’s inconclusive agreement and the former’s reluctance to issue a letter of comfort to the government for loans from other institutions will have a significant impact on the country’s economy.

He added among the four levels of security involving individual, national, regional and global, the last three dimensions have been given priority at the cost of individual security, which puts the country into a difficult situation to deal with rising external and internal challenges.

Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Former Secretary General Akram Zaki said the country is going through multiple crises, as the security situations at western, eastern and at internal fronts worsen.

He said the initial alliance between US and Pakistan was on wrong notations as Pakistan thought it was getting strong against India and US intended to secure low-cost soldiers to protect its interests in the region. He highlighted varying phases of Pak-US relations and said that Pakistan never formulated its national security, economic, social and development policies.

Zaki said Pakistan should follow a policy of dialogue with caution, patience and firmness and it should explore options for coordinating with Iran, China, Russia and Turkey. He said the US is not going to withdraw from Afghanistan, but it is changing its role from a combating player to a long-term strategic presence involving India as a partner.

Media Analyst Syed Talat Hussain talked about Haqani-ISI relationship and US accusations, saying Haqqanis are bound to drift between Af-Pak borders due to border proximity.

He said a power-game is going on among stakeholders for defence and security reasons in the region. He added Pakistan faces numerous challenges to its sovereignty involving India in the East, unstable Afghanistan with US-Nato presence in the West and internal challenges, such as the re-grouping of Taliban and their connections with banned militant groups across Pakistan leading to continuous incursions, bombings and attacks. Other challenges being faced by Pakistan are a weak economy, fragmentation of society, and uncontrollable violence in Karachi.

Defence and security analyst Lt-Gen (retd) Asad Durrani said a country that depends upon others for its political and strategic reasons will have to struggle for its sovereignty. He added that the US is using Pakistan as a scapegoat as it has lost the war, as in the past, due to its reliance on the use of brute force without legitimacy.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011. 


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