The Senator said that terrorism has no borders, no religion and no ethnicity and this is a trans-national problem requiring regional approach including Pakistan, China and the other four neighbours of Afghanistan, namely, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He proposed that there should be concrete coordination and these could include better border management and stringent border controls to ensure that terrorists don’t cross over into each other’s territory.
Senator Mushahid Hussain welcomed the proactive political and diplomatic role of China towards Afghanistan which includes the appointment of a Special Chinese Envoy for Afghanistan, hosting of an international conference on Afghanistan for the first time in China as well as greater coordination between Beijing and Islamabad on Afghanistan. He also announced that the Pakistan-China Institute of which he is the Chairman, would be hosting a trilateral think tanks conference of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan in October 2014 in Islamabad.
Senator Mushahid further expressed that there should also be conferences of think tanks of Pakistan and China focusing on a better coordination for joint counter-terror strategy. And Pakistan, China and Afghanistan can also cooperate together in joint counter-terror strategy under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He also called for highlighting the role of media to present a counter narrative in the campaign against terrorism.
Referring to recent incidence of violence in Xinjiang province of China, Senator Mushahid expressed full solidarity with Chinese government and its people in their efforts to combat terrorism and religious extremism.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Maria Sultan, DG and Chairperson SASSI University, said that the impact of terrorism is national as well as regional, so the counter terrorism efforts have to be made at the regional level as well. Referring to the Global War on Terror, she said that after the 13 years of war almost 1 trillion US Dollars have been spent in Afghanistan so far but still more than 28 provinces of Afghanistan face the issue of terrorism. “These are the same provinces that border the neighboring states and in this regard, effective mechanism for the border management is essential.” Dr. Maria emphasized.
The Chinese speakers were of the view that the collaboration between the think tanks of Pakistan and China in an encouraging sign and this will bring the strategic thinking from both the countries on the same page.
Concluding, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that in order to for this joint counter-terror strategy to succeed, it is imperative that Pakistan first formulate a clear, coherent and coordinated counter-terror strategy of its own, a task which the government has so far failed to achieve despite the loss of over 50,000 lives in the war against terrorism.
The seminar was attended by a large number of representatives from think-tanks of both countries.