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Speakers call for building strong energy links with Iran at CASS seminar

LAHORE, /DNA/ – A seminar was conducted by the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Lahore on the theme of “Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Choices in the Evolving Global Order”. The seminar featured a keynote address by Ambassador (Retd) Javid Husain who underscored the need for a pragmatic approach in Pakistan’s foreign policy towards the great powers, regional countries, and especially the neighboring states.

Ambassador (Retd) Naghmana Hashmi dwelt in detail on how to further deepen Pakistan’s strategic ties with China. Ambassador (Retd) Riffat Masood in a video message, reflected on policy options vis a vis India and Pakistan’s representative on Afghanistan, Ambassador (Retd) Asif Durrani emphasized the utmost importance of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.

The statements of the guest speakers were followed by an extensive question-and-answer session. Earlier, in the beginning, Ambassador (Retd) Muhammad Haroon Shaukat, Director, Foreign Affairs CASS, made an introductory statement. President, CASS, Lahore, Air Marshal Asim Suleiman (Retd) made the concluding remarks while summing up the recommendations.

Following are some of the key takeaways of this important seminar:

Recognizing the vital importance of economic health for national security, the seminar speakers emphasized the need to attach high priority to economic diplomacy; The need for adopting a pragmatic approach in policies was stressed; There was a unanimous view that Pakistan should continue to attach utmost importance to further deepening and diversifying its strategic partnership with its all-weather friend and iron brother China and to fast track CPEC; Pakistan should eschew the cold war era block politics, and promote mutually beneficial relations with great powers.

A reset of relations with the US is desirable and efforts should be made to strengthen ties with Russia; The seminar underscored the importance of a peaceful neighbourhood and reiterated Pakistan’s desire for good neighbourly relations with India on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues, especially the Jammu and Kashmir dispute; Pakistan’s search for peace with India should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Pakistan should continue to pursue peace with dignity; As a neighbor and brother, Pakistan should continue to play a role in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan and urge the Taliban regime to deal with terror groups, especially TTP, operating from its territory, firmly; The seminar advocated building stronger economic, commercial and energy links with Iran; The seminar advocated the need for special efforts to deepen relations with brotherly countries of the Islamic world, especially Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Qatar, making economic cooperation as the centerpiece of bilateral relations; The need to reinvigorate Pakistan’s traditional leadership role in multilateral organizations, especially the OIC, UN, ECO, and SCO was also emphasized.

The seminar stressed the vital importance of self-reliance, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development, good governance and political stability which facilitate a more proactive and independent foreign policy.

In the end, President CASS, Air Marshal Asim Suleiman (Retd), summed up the key observations and recommendations of the seminar and conveyed a vote of thanks to the speakers and the participants of the seminar.

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