Today’s Pakistan is beset with numerous challenges, yet it offers many reasons to be sanguine about its future – a convalescent economy, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the military’s successful fight against militancy, to name a few. In these circumstances, the need for maintaining national unity was paramount as a number of elements were working to destabilize Pakistan.
This was stated by Mr. Abdul Qadir Baloch, Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions while addressing a seminar on “National Unity: A Critical Factor in National Security” on September 8, 2015. The seminar was organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI), in collaboration with the Department of International Relations, National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad.
Earlier, in his welcome remarks, Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Masood Khan, said that despite its diversity, Pakistan is a united nation, which has always stood together in the face of many odds. Kashmir, nuclear power and cricket strengthen the bond of national unity. He, however, cautioned that national unity should not be taken as a given: it has to be nurtured with care and with continuous efforts. Distributive justice and inclusive economic and political development conduce to national unity, whereas inequality and economic disparity undermine it. Today’s Pakistan, Ambassador Khan averred, needed national unity more than ever before. He also spoke about the cooperation between ISSI and NDUA in organizing this conference, noting that the students’ participation in this conference was its distinctive feature, and the idea was to make them realize that they should take the responsibility of national security at an early stage of their career.
The seminar was addressed by several noted scholars and practitioners, including Mr. Javed Jabbar, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asif Ysin Malik, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Assad Durrani, Ambassador Shamshad Ahmad Khan, Mr. Zahid Hussian, Mr. Amir Rana (PIPS), Dr. Riffat Hussain (NUST), Dr. Muhammad Khan (NDU), Dr. Mansur Kundi (Gomal University), Dr. Ijaz Khan (University of Peshawar) and Ambassador Khalid Mehmood, Chairman BoG, ISSI. The speakers approached the issue of national integrity from a variety of angels; however, all agreed that need for national unity was paramount at the time when state was facing a variety of internal and external challenges.
Kashif M/Mahrukh K/Ahmad Saffee/08092015