KARACHI: “Co-existence should be learnt from Europe where a large number of countries are present without getting involved in the race of weaponisation,” said Registrar Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship (KITE) Prof Dr Sikandar Mehdi on Tuesday.
While addressing as a key-note speaker at the first national conference of Federal Urdu University of Arts Science and Technology on international relations entitled ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy: Challenges and Opportunities’, organized by FUUAST International Relations Department at a local hotel, he said we need to learn from China as well. In late 1970s they realized changing world requirements and set long-term target of becoming prominent world figure through pacific ways of diplomacy.
He started his address with a light note by telling a joke: “once an Afghan refugee after his arrival here sent list of luxuries to be provided. The authorities in amazement asked, what did you do in Afghanistan? He replied, he was a railway minister. With more amazement an official asked, but there was no railway in Afghanistan. He replied, how come do you have a law minister?
Mehdi said he could also ask why do we have foreign ministry. Registrar KITE said wars and military coups took place in our country in the so-called best interest of Pakistan on the basis of the claim of no-no option. Foreign policy was not a job of ambassadors and secretaries.
Dean FUUAST Prof Dr Suleman D Muhammad said economic and political stability could ensure good foreign policy, otherwise it was said “beggars are not choosers”.
Chairman Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance Karachi Dr Shahid Hassan Siddiqui said; “We were being controlled by our financers. It was on the record that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif once said our loaners ask us to snatch bread from poor and we are compelled to do so. General (r) Pervez Musharraf also spoke once a similar thing.
“It is under the US influence that we are pursuing Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and not Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI),” he said.
Lecturer at University of Peshawar, International Relations, Prof Dr Adnan Sarwar Khan lashed out at the system and said we had been making blunders after blunders in a most criminal and negligent manner.
“Pakistan has countered military coup, constitutional issues and political instability and our parliament is still full of plunderers and looters,” he said.
He shed light on the past and said once rapid growth of economy in Pakistan was seen in early 1960s which even South Korea at that time was keen to learn how it was made. Then, despite colossal loss of East Pakistan the era of 1970s was also very good.
Ambassador (r) Shahid M Amin said we live in anarchic world where might is still right and a nation need to learn to live with the existing circumstances.
“Foreign policy is a high-risk game. One wrong decision can give immense harm. If you are over-ambitious you could lead your country into fatal difficulty,” he said.
Founding Director of Islamic Educational and Cultural Research Centre Prof Dr Muhammad Ahmed Qadri spoke on ‘Pakistan at a cross road: A socio-political analysis’. Former vice chancellor of Gomal University Prof Dr Mansoor Akbar Kundi spoke on ‘The new era of Pak-China relations: challenges and opportunities. Director General Institute of Policy Studies Khalid Rehman threw light on ‘Pak-China relations: opportunities, issues and policy’.
Head of Department of Politics and International Relations International Islamic University Islamabad, Lt Col (r) Hikmat Shah Afridi, Chairperson Pakistan Institute of International Affairs Dr Masuma Hasan, Assistant Prof Department of International Relations University of Karachi Dr Nausheen Wasi and Coordinator Specific Projects IBA Muneza Khan also spoke on the occasion.
While, Head of IR Department FUUAST Dr Prof Syed Waseemuddin, Chief Organiser of the event Dr Prof Faisal Javed, Dr Prof Muhammad Shahabuddin, Dr Prof Asghar Dashti, Prof Shahnawaz Muhammad Khan, Prof Afsha Brohi and Prof Rizwana Jabeen were also present on the occasion.