Pakistan is the biggest stakeholder on the issue of post-2014 Afghanistan - which is when US and Nato forces plan to exit – and the future of the region should be chalaked out with Pakistan’s engagement.
A representative parliamentary delegation comprising all political parties apprised British leaders, parliamentary leaders and opinion makers in the UK of this, said a statement issued by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.
The two sides discussed the perspective and concerns of Pakistan about the end-game in Afghanistan and on the planned exit of the US and Nato forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and its impact on the region.
It was underlined that Pakistan was the biggest stakeholder on the issue of post-2014 Afghanistan, hosting 2.5 million refugees, having suffered and sacrificed the most after 9/11 with over 40,000 losses of lives of civilians and soldiers.
“The Afghan reconciliation process requires Pakistan’s proactive participation, and its interests were in a stable, united and peaceful Afghanistan,” the statement added.
The study visit to UK has been centred on national security and the role of parliament and political parties in influencing and scrutinising strategies.
The delegates highlighted that as Nato and the US plan a withdrawal from Afghanistan, the security, political and economic future balance of the region must be carefully planned with Pakistan’s engagement.
Pakistan’s changing dynamics as a vibrant and free Muslim democracy with its independent media, independent judiciary, and civil society groups must be kept in view, while recognising that Pakistan is positioning itself for the post-2014 realities of the region, they said.
The group also held a conversation with the Labour Party on the role it has played in the formulation of policies on national security. The delegation was joined by John Spellar, shadow minister for foreign and commonwealth office, Russell Brown, shadow minister for defence and Jo Greening.
The delegation called on Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss the role of interior security and national security and raised questions relating to Pak-UK cooperation on the capacity building of law enforcement agencies and intelligence sharing.
MP David Miliband spoke to the Pakistan delegation on the role of cross-party cooperation on national security.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2012.