Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI)
Heart of Asia Society (HAS)
December 2, 2020
The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) held its first bilateral dialogue with the Heart of Asia Society (HAS) based in Kabul Afghanistan today. The distinguished panel of speakers included; Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI; Ambassador Jawed Ludin, President, HAS; Ms. Amina Khan, Director Centre for Middle East, Africa & Afghanistan, ISSI, Ambassador Janan Mosazai, Vice President, HAS and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI.
There were two sessions in the dialogue. The first agenda was on Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations and the second session was on the Afghan Peace Process: Prospects for Regional Peace & Stability.
The key points raised during the discussion were that the prospects for a long term strategic partnership agreement between the two countries needs to be discussed. Five areas of cooperation where the two countries could work together were also identified: political, economic, security, people to people and refugees. On the economic front speakers agreed that the transit trade and connectivity between Pakistan and Afghanistan are very important and merit separate discussions where we can make tangible suggestions. On the security aspect, border management is extremely important. Regardless of what the border is called it should be managed properly to counter any militants crossing into either country. It is also important to engage in intelligence sharing and military to military cooperation. It was also pointed out that any peace settlement needs the concurrence of all the countries in the region otherwise there will be lack of sustainability. Hence, there is a serious disconnect where dialogue is concerned and there is a need for a holistic arrangement which encompasses the regional countries as well and consolidates all scattered efforts towards peace. All speakers agreed that the key challenge at a time like when there is a softening in the relationship, is to focus on sustaining the current momentum and make sure it translates into tangible results all the while preventing any potential impediments in this regard. A failure of the political process will result in a sharp escalation of violence which will draw in all regional countries.
The remarks were followed by an interactive discussion.