Speakers at a discussion urged international community to help Somalia in rebuilding its infrastructure and economy.
They termed the absence of central government, lack of education and economic problems as the root causes of civil war and lawlessness in the east African state.
The discussion titled “Rebuilding Somalia” was organised by the Islamabad-based think-tank, The Muslim Institute here on Tuesday, said a press release.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been hit hard by famine and civil war unleashed by warlords to capture resources of the country, they said.
“Before the 1991 civil war, Somalia was a peaceful country. However, after the dissolution of the central government the entire situation changed,” said Ali Sheikh Abdullai Charge d’Affaires of the Somalian embassy.
“UN peacekeeping forces and international community came in to help our people who were facing civil war and drought. But attacks by armed groups forced them to leave the country. After that no one looked back,” he added.
Somalia is also known in the international community due to pirates, he said, but to root out the menace, we need to provide people with economic opportunities and stop illegal fishing.
“It is very difficult for us to rebuild Somalia ourselves alone. African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, United Nations, European Union and other organizations are helping us.”
Many countries have reopened their embassies in Somalia and we will encourage Pakistan and other countries as well to do so, he said.
“We don’t need financial assistance only. We need infrastructural, educational, political, diplomatic, commercial and capacity building support as well.”
He thanked Pakistan for providing scholarships to a big number of Somalian students who are studying in various universities of Pakistan.
Dr Marjan Lucas a Dutch expert on Somalia supported Abdullai’s views and asked the world to help Somalian people. “But in the end it’s the Somalian people who should own their land,” she remarked.
Somalia faced a long period of dictatorship and then became victim of cold war.
Through an audio-link Somalian ambassador at Brussels Ali Said Faqi, said international community should take active part in rebuilding the war-torn country. People need infrastructure, schools, hospitals, police, national army and other things.
During an interactive session Abdullai expressed his dissatisfaction over what the OIC as an organisation is doing.
Answering a question about reasons of the civil war, he held dictatorship and lack of justice responsible for the situation despite of fact that people had same language, ethnicity, religion and culture.
Dr Marjan Lucas answering a question said that EU and other countries should help Somalia not for the sake of business opportunities but on a humanitarian basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2014.
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