Islamabad: Chairman Senate Mr. Farooq H. Naek attended Nato Parliamentary Assembly’s 78thRose-Roth Seminar on the subject “2011-2014: Afghanistan Towards Transition” in London today. The 5-session seminar covered the following areas: Afghanistan 2001-2011: Lessons Learned and The Way Forward (Opening Session); Security: How To Make Transition Work Afghanistan: The Regional Dimension; Nato Partners in ISAF: Lessons Learned and Perspectives on Transition; Addressing Governance Challenges: Prospects for 2014 and Beyond; and Can Afghanistan Build a Sustainable Economy?
The Session-II, “Afghanistan: The Regional Dimension”, besides others, was addressed by the Chairman, Senate of Pakistan, Mr. Farooq H. Naek who highlighted Afghanistan’s significance for the region. He stated that Pakistan’s unique ties with Afghanistan drew their strength from common faith, cultural affinities and shared traditions that made the destinies of the two countries inextricably linked.
While deliberating on Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral ties, Mr. Farooq H. Naek said that since the revival of democratic rule in Pakistan in 2008, these relations had undergone a qualitative transformation, marked by growing trade and people to people interaction, progressive institutionalization, and Pakistan’s active participation in reconstruction of Afghanistan.
He said that frequent visits of President Hamid Karzai to Pakistan and President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to Afghanistan have helped in not only improving relations but have brought two nations close to each other.
Speaking about the effects of war, Mr. Naek said that instability of three decades in Afghanistan had made a colossal impact on the peace and stability of the region especially Pakistan. The region witnessed enhanced radicalization taking roots in the society and Pakistan was the biggest victim of terrorism, and we lost a great leader Benazir Bhutto Shaheed in an act of terrorism, he said.
While explaining the economic cost of war on terror, Mr. Naek pointed out that it was tremendous and Pakistan had spent more than what it received in compensation.
As far as resolution of the issue is concerned, Mr. Naek said unequivocally that military action alone could not resolve Afghanistan issue; rather military measure had to be supported by political and development tracks.
Pakistan had always supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and there should be no doubt that any peace solution devised outside Afghanistan and imposed on the country would not work, he added.
He said that Pakistan had always supported peace initiatives of President Karzai. He urged the regional countries to respect the unity, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan while holding the principle of non-interference in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. For Pakistan, Mr. Naek said, the bottom line was a peaceful, stable, prosperous and developed Afghanistan.
He hoped that the seminar would prove highly conducive to help Afghan nation and state cope successfully with seemingly dauntless challenges lying ahead on the road to transition.
In his opening address, Foreign Secretary of the UK Mr. William Hague emphasized on efforts towards enhancing the socio-economic stability o f Pakistan so that it could play the vital role in war on terror.
He also urged the need of enduring partnership with Afghanistan beyond 2014. Mr. Hague express confidence that the upcoming Bonn Conference on Afghanistan would further strengthen the commitment of International to bring about peace in Afghanistan.
Afghan representative, Mr. Zia Nezam stressed that end of transition should not be the end of assistance to and cooperation with Afghanistan.
Nato Assistant Secretary General for Operations Ambassador Stephan Evans said that the combat role of NATO in Afghanistan would end in 2014 whereas its assistance and advisory role would continue beyond 2014.
Pakistan High Commissioner for UK, Mr. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Minister Press Mr. Shabbir Anwer and Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Nafees Zakaria also attended the seminar.
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