Abdul Rasheed Azad
Published Date: Dec 9, 2016
War no option for India, Pakistan: seminar speakers
Speakers at a seminar while highlighting the significance of peace and harmony in the South Asian region has said that war, in any case, is no option between the two nuclear neighbouring states of India and Pakistan. This was the crux of the closing plenary of 19th Sustainable Development Conference organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) which concluded here on Thursday.
The speakers said that the future of region is linked with peace, cooperation and sustainability. Speaking as chief guest Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Afzal said the region has become explosive due to the core issue of Kashmir which needs to be resolved in accordance with the UN resolutions. “Pakistan cannot leave 11 million Kashmiris on the mercy of Indian forces,” he said, adding that Indian designs of hegemony in the region can no longer prevail.
He further said a strong and peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest whereas an economically stable and prosperous Pakistan is in India’s interest. Afzal said Pakistan is faced with various challenges including the world propaganda of being a terrorist state whereas “we are in fact the victims of worst kind of terrorism.” He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a reality and 50 per cent work on Phase-I of the project was near to completion.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and Member National assembly (MNA) Asad Umer said all the mainstream political parties are agreed on good relations with neighbours, which is mandatory to promote peace and sustainability in the region. “Peace constituency in Pakistan is overwhelming,” he said, and added that Modi government cannot sabotage the wishes of peace-loving people of India who want good relations with Pakistan. Regarding women and minority issues, he said, “Now it’s time to change our mindset, as we cannot respect our vulnerable communities unless we change our social behaviours.”
Former President of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malik Zubair Ahmed said peace lobby in India and Pakistan is going to shrink and Pakistan has to take bold decisions to promote trade and good relations through SAARC.
SDPI Executive Director Abid Suleri said that the conference was attended by over 200 national and international level experts, which include economists, public policy experts, educationists, climate change, minority rights and gender studies experts. He said soon the conference recommendations will be shared with the government of Pakistan and related institutions.
Speaking at a session on titled ‘Regional Cooperation in light of Paris Agreement’ Nisar Memon, chairman of Water and Environment Forums (WEF) said, “Human security is not possible if we don’t address the issue of climate change in our policies, which should be more people centric.” He stressed the need for inverse hierarchy and long communication cycle for the implementation of climate change policies.
Naseer Gilani from Planning Commission also stressed the need for addressing trans-boundary issues like air pollution and reducing the cost of the regional technology transfer. Sanjay Vishast from Climate Action Network, India stressed on regional cooperation in South Asia by suggesting investment in renewable energy sources like solar panels, which are fast and efficient. He rejected the idea of using coal and identified solar energy as an emerging filed which requires more focus.
Dr Imran Khalid from SDPI highlighted the track-II initiatives conducted between India and Pakistan and suggested for the early warning system for disaster risk reduction, collaborative monitoring and assessment system and use of adaptation technologies to address the challenges of climate change on regional level.
Shakeel Ahmed Ramay from SDPI highlighted the need to bring business hubs in the Track-II initiatives between India and Pakistan so that the issues related to energy and water scarcity can be addressed with shared interests. Jean-Luc Siblot, the Country Director of World Food Programme said, “We should analyse the weaknesses, opportunities and threats of malnutrition in Pakistan.” The WFP Pakistan is linked with future development and is now extending circle up to provincial level.