6th Think Tanks Forum of the Islamic Countries

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Congratulatory message to the people of China from Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed

Dated:20-10-2017

Chairman PCI talks about China's 19th Communist Party Congress and the importance of Belt and Road Initiative

Dated:20-10-2017

Books by Mushahid

Pakistan's CPEC is the centerpiece to the Belt and Road Initiative: Senator Mushahid

Date : 16-11-2017

Pakistan's CPEC is the centerpiece to the Belt and Road Initiative: Senator Mushahid

KARACHI:  Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Pakistan-China Institute and Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, quoted the Quaid-i-Azam on the role and future of Pakistan stating that Pakistan would be the pivot of the world on which the future geopolitics of the world would revolve. He said this while addressing a conference titled ‘Peace in South Asia: opportunities and Challenges’ organized by Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA). Speaking about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he stated that it is the centerpiece to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. He termed the last few years as ‘period of missed opportunities’ while talking about Pakistan-Indo relations.

One of the main challenges facing Pakistan is the battle of ideas, a battle of narratives and think tanks are pivotal in this regard, said Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed while speaking at a conference organised by the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Wednesday.

Titled ‘Peace in South Asia: opportunities and challenges’, the aim of the conference was to mark PIIA’s 70th anniversary. Scholars from leading think tanks, academia and diplomats in the region took part in the event.

Senator Mushahid quoted the Quaid-i-Azam on the role and future of Pakistan, stating that it would “be the pivot of the world on which the future geopolitics of the world will revolve. And today, 70 years later, this is true. In fact if you see the geopolitical landscape of the last 50 years, in the most important geopolitical events Pakistan has been the pivotal player. And currently, in the most important diplomatic and developmental initiative of the 21st century the One Belt One Road, Pakistan’s CPEC is the centrepiece to the project.”

PIIA marks its 70th anniversary

Commenting on Pakistan-India relations, Senator Mushahid Hussain called the past few years a “period of missed opportunities”. Responding to a question, he said that a few initiatives needed to be taken to resolve the issues between the two. This involves the “starting of the backchannel between the two countries by trusted and credible interlocutors. India should stop resisting holding of the Saarc summit in Pakistan. And thirdly, it is time to start the tripartite dialogue among Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris.”

Dr Masuma Hassan, chairperson of PIIA, said: “South Asia is no exception to war and conflict. It is home to some of the most intractable disputes, including that of Kashmir. We have invited scholars from South Asia and other countries so that we can discuss the dynamics and factors in pursuit of peace in our region.”

Dr Ishrat Hussain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, was among the panellists who spoke about regional trade and connectivity. “We need to identify how trade, economic corridors and connectivity, and economic cooperation can lead to a better outcome for the poor populations, considering that this is the only region in the world with the highest number of poor. With malnutrition, hunger and illiteracy rampant, we have a responsibility for our younger generation to be left with a better legacy.”

He said confrontational and adversarial relations between countries would not help us in establishing a better legacy. “The relationship between India and Pakistan has gone on different tangents since 1947. In the next 70 years then we should take a break from what has happened in the past and get on a different track which is looking forward to the prosperity of the region and its people.”

Research, he said, indicated that trade among South Asian countries, especially between India and Pakistan, was a “win-win proposition. It is not going to be a zero-sum game where India benefits and Pakistan loses or vice versa.”

Naresh Prasad Shrestha, director of the Institute of Strategic and Socio-economic Research, Kathmandu, Nepal, spoke about peace, connectivity, trade and investment in South Asia with a Nepalese perspective. “Nepal believes in economic development within the country and beyond and we have been supporting all international communities. And we would like you to realise and use our experiences.”

Apart from the economic front, the social front was also discussed at the conference with Aftab Nabi, former director general of the National Police Bureau, Islamabad, and the Sindh IGP, shedding light on human and narcotics trafficking.

He explained how human trafficking was such a covert affair and so it was difficult to identify all those involved as well as be able to get the actual figures. “So we can assess the nature of the problem through figures pertaining to deportation which are 100 per cent accurate. Data is very crucial in this respect.

“As far as the origins of the persons who were deported from different provinces, the situation in 2010 was from Punjab it was 67pc, Sindh 15pc, KP 14pc, and Balochistan 4pc. In 2011, there was a sudden rise in Sindh to 24pc. These figures and more allow us to assess the dimension of the problem and tackle it.”

Mehnaz Rahman of the Aurat Foundation brought women to the fore in her talk on women’s movement and peace building in South Asia. “Why must we focus on women in peace building? The answer is that in South Asian cultures women are the central caretakers of families and everyone by default suffers when women are victimised, oppressed and excluded from peace building. Their centrality in communal life makes their involvement essential.”

The conference is spread over two days and speakers will also shed light on a variety of topics, including nuclear security in South Asia and ways to combat terrorism.

Earlier, President Mamnoon Hussain also spoke.