Press Release – “6th Think Tank Forum”

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Press Release

6th Think Tank Forum
September 2, 2021

The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted the sixth Think Tank Forum under the theme, “The Situation in Afghanistan: Options for Pakistan.” The forum was a virtual event and was attended by representatives of think tanks and the heads of Area Study Centers from across the country. The Chief Guest at the occasion, Honorable Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, in his keynote address stated that the happenings in our neighbourhood have far-reaching implications for the region and that we want a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. He stated that the situation in Afghanistan is fragile, with the loss of lives in terrorist attacks; therefore, the international community has a shared responsibility. He further said that the instability in Afghanistan is not in our interest and that we reiterate our support to all the ethnic communities in the country. In the quest for finding regional solutions, Pakistan has engaged with the regional countries. The change in the Afghan situation has progressed at an unprecedented pace and the West’s presumptions failed, as they were not apprised about the reality just as they should have been. Moreover, he said that the Afghans must decide their fate and Pakistan is supportive of that and that this is a shared responsibility for the international community.

Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, in his welcome remarks stated that this convention of think tanks and academia is intended to bridge the gap between these and the executive arm of the state of Pakistan. While shedding light on the topic, Ambassador Chaudhry said that Pakistan’s stance regarding Afghanistan has been vindicated and that a political solution is the only answer for lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region at large. He further said that the region must make meaningful efforts in this regard.

Representatives of numerous Think Tanks and the heads of Area Study Centers throughout Pakistan, while speaking on the issue were of the view that Pakistan must address the challenge regarding its image and must start engaging with the Afghan media. It was also said that Pakistan must have a proactive and pragmatic approach regarding Afghanistan. Some of the participants were of the view that Pakistan must closely watch how India-US relations will play out in the region. The 6th Think Tank Forum concluded with the resolve to consolidate the recommendations of the discussion and carry further engagement in this regard.