A six-member team of the Century Foundation’s International Working Group comprising Americans and Pakistanis visited the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) on May 20, 2015. The members of the team included Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador Cameron Munter, Ambassador Ann Wilkenes, Mr. Hikmet Cetin, former Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mr. Najam Sethi and Mr. Musharraf Zaidi. The visit was part of the team’s recent engagements in Islamabad to share the report Jago Pakistan, Wake Up Pakistan.
Chairman ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood and Director General, Ambassador Masood Khan welcomed the team.
The report, the team said, had touched upon the most crucial issues confronting contemporary Pakistan such as regional security and economic cooperation, violent extremism and internal governance. The report was the outcome of two years of research and interaction between international and Pakistani policy-makers and opinion leaders.
Ambassador Pickering said the idea of the report had come up after he had worked on a similar report with Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi on Afghanistan. This report, he said, fills in missing pieces in the report on Afghanistan.
Mr. Sethi was happy to note that though the report had been launched only recently, Pakistan’s security policy seemed to have already taken the right course, recommended in the report.
Ambassador Wilkens said she was encouraged by the recent developments in Pakistan, but the country still needed to do a lot to ensure women’s empowerment, child rights and broader economic equality in society.
Mr. Cetin also listed several achievements that Pakistan has made over the years. He was particularly appreciative of the transition of power from one civilian government to another after 2013 elections.
Ambassador Munter said the report not only urges Pakistan to wake up, it also recommends that it look outwards. He emphasized that it was Pakistan which had to undertake the required reforms in economy, security and governance; international community could play only a supportive role.
Mr. Zaidi said the process of preparing the report taught us the lesson that we Pakistanis can see eye to eye with the outside world, and we should not always be paranoid.
Ambassador Masood Khan, Director General ISSI, thanked the team for their visit and appreciated the report, which, he said, was timely and very enlightening as it had captured the entire spectrum of issues confronting Pakistan. He hoped the team would follow up its recommendations with Pakistani decision-makers and opinion leaders.