ISSI-FES hosts a conference on ‘Pakistan’s Geopolitical Landscape’

The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Pakistan Office, hosted a one-day International Conference titled “Pakistan in the Emerging Geopolitical Landscape.” The Chief Guest at the Inaugural Session was Ambassador Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan.

In her introductory remarks, Ms. Amina Khan, Director of CAMEA, brought attention to the major transformations occurring globally, highlighting the need for increased global partnerships and equitable progress. Amidst these global shifts, the world, including Pakistan, stands at a critical juncture as regional dynamics, especially in West and Central Asia, impact Pakistan’s foreign policy and security.

This emphasizes the necessity to embrace international norms to navigate the complexities of the current global landscape. Ms. Khan stated that the one-day Conference will focus on three key areas: Afghanistan post-August 2021, the evolving Middle East, and emerging non-traditional security threats in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Middle East — issues vital for Pakistan’s future.

Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General of ISSI, in his welcome remarks, stated that amidst historic global transformations, the world today is marked by intense polarization, volatility, and fragmentation. Traditional threats, including major-power competition and wars in Europe and the Middle East, are accentuated by new challenges such as cyber warfare and climate change. Some see a ‘decline of the West’ and ‘rise of the rest,’ with a shift towards multi-polarity discernible.

Similarly, technology adds complexity, from informational warfare to AI militarization. He stressed that Pakistan, like others, grapples with these complexities, from cross-border terrorism to volatility of food and fuel prices to extreme weather events. From instability in South Asia to conflict in the Middle East, and cross-border terrorism to hybrid warfare, Pakistan faces the fallout of a complex array of challenges.

Like others, Pakistan must navigate these threats and challenges while seizing available opportunities. He added that “it is our considered view that for tackling all these phenomena successfully — on national and international scale — a collaborative approach is indispensable.” Specifically, an approach that puts a premium on adherence to time-honored principles of inter-state relations and international law, renewal of faith in equal security, fostering international cooperation and solidarity, and strengthening cooperative multilateralism. Furthermore, an approach that prioritizes peaceful coexistence, eschews zero-sum perspectives, and seeks win-win outcomes is critically important.

Ambassador Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s Special Representative on Afghanistan, while making his remarks, stated that Pakistan’s neighborhood is infested with challenges, conflicts, and disputes, further compounded by major power rivalry. In the past, the Iranian revolution, the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the rise of China created new paradigms for regional peace and security.

He underlined the concern that the Ukrainian crisis is considered the revival of the Cold War rivalry; the Israel-Hamas conflict has further compounded the global war; the Iran-Israel conflict, if not contained urgently, can engulf the Middle East and beyond. While shedding light on Pakistan, Ambassador

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