The Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research is organising a panel discussion on Balochistan’s Security Dynamics as a Determinant on Pakistan’s Foreign Policy. The notion will be furthered on the grounds of security in Balochistan, and how it translates into Pakistan’s external relations vis-à-vis the neighbouring states. The speakers would shed light on security reforms in Pakistan that would ultimately curtail the negative internationalization of Balochistan. Giving their perspectives on the matter will be prominent speakers like Spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, Home Minister Government of Balochistan Mr. Sarfraz Bugti, Deputy Chief of Mission People’s Republic of China Mr. Zhao Lijian, and Mr. Saleem Safi, Senior Analyst, Columnist and Anchor Person, Geo News. Furthermore, the conference would be chaired by a former ambassador of Pakistan Mr. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who has held several national and international diplomatic assignments.
The event would be hosted at Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS), Sector F-5, Islamabad.
Dr. Mohammad Faisal has served in the Foreign Service of Pakistan for more than 22 years. He has an LLM from University of Warwick, UK and a Masters in WTO Law from Brussels. He also holds an MBBS from Rawalpindi Medical College. He is well versed in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Over the course of his career, he has been dealing with matters related to the United Nations, the European Union, SAARC as well as South Asia, both in Pakistan and abroad.
A prominent Pakistani politician, notably known as the pioneer of the middle-class movement against the tribal Sardars of Dera Bugti. Mr. Sarfraz hails from the Bugti tribe of Balochistan, serving as Provincial Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs.
Mr. Lijian has been nominated by the Chinese Embassy as Deputy Head of Mission for the on-going projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi (born 1942) is a politician from Pakistan. He has held several national and international appointments.
In 2007, Mr. Qazi was appointed as a special representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Sudan. He completed his tenure in Sudan in 2010. Between 2004 and 2007, he was the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in charge of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. Between 2002 and 2004, Qazi was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. Before that he was Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India since 1997 and ambassador to Syria (1986–88), East Germany (1990–91), Russia (1991–94), and later to China (1994–97). While at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, he served as director of East Asia (1975–1978), Director-General for Policy Planning and Afghanistan (1982–1986) and Additional Foreign Secretary for Policy Planning, Afghanistan, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (1988–1990). He also has had diplomatic assignments in Copenhagen, Tokyo, Cairo, Tripoli and London.
Saleem Safi is a Pakistani journalist, columnist, defence analyst and current affairs talk show anchor. He has hosted various current affairs programs in channels such as PTV News, the Pashto-language AVT Khyber and is currently serving as the host of GEO News talk show Jirga. He has written columns for the Daily Jang. Mr.Safi is the author of Afghanistan, Taliban, and Usama Aur Pakistan Ki Deeni Juma’aton ka Kirdar (Afghanistan, Taliban, Osama and the role of Pakistan’s religious parties)
The Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research held a panel discussion on 3rd May 2018, at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services. The discussion theme, ‘Balochistan Security Dynamics as a Determinant of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’, had been selected in view of the significance of Balochistan’s internal dynamics for Pakistan’s foreign policy decision making as well as for regional peace and security, as explained in the opening remarks by Ms. Aiza Azam, Vice President CSCR. The select audience consisted of policy makers, diplomatic representatives, academicians and students, and the media.
In his inaugural address, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Muhammad Faisal, focused on the relevance of foreign policy to the security of Balochistan. He began by outlining how Balochistan’s unique geostrategic location and geography positioned it not only as a key hub for facilitating inter-regional trade and transport, but also made it significant for the physical and economic security of Pakistan and the immediate region. He stated that Pakistan’s foreign policy, driven by national security considerations, not only acted as a catalyst for domestic economic development, but also afforded it international clout and prestige. Dr. Faisal also deliberated on how the security and political situation in Afghanistan has a direct bearing on Balochistan,
Minister of the Interior for Balochistan, Mir Sarfraz Bugti highlighted in his keynote address the challenges faced by the Government of Balochistan, referring in particular to organized crime, street crime and terrorism perpetrated in the name of religion. He discussed historical facts pertaining to the sub nationalist movements in the province and factors that had contributed to their expansion. In the same vein, he discussed Indian involvement in Balochistan, deliberating upon the activities that had been undertaken by the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). With regards to regional security, Mr. Bugti opined that peace in Afghanistan was crucial to ensure peace within Pakistan. He also touched upon the impetus behind the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement that has taken an upswing in the preceding weeks, and the implications it has for Pakistan’s security.
Mr. Zhao Lijian, Deputy Chief of Mission of the People’s Republic of China, spoke of his country’s unwavering confidence in the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan, as well as the Pak armed forces. He discussed the Chinese government’s efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s economy by means of the CPEC. In Balochistan, he explained, China has the greatest number of CPEC projects, 16 in total, the largest being the coal fired power plant in Hub. He discussed the various road networks that China is helping develop within Pakistan, as well as the infrastructural projects that had been planned for Balochistan and which would contribute to the province’s socio-economic uplift.
Renowned anchorperson and columnist, Mr. Saleem Safi deliberated on how the difference in dynamics of Balochistan and other provinces of Pakistan merited special treatment for the former. He opined that the geostrategic significance of Balochistan had, over the years, compelled actors such as the United States, India and the Afghan Taliban to use Balochistan as a proxy base for their own strategic interests, which had also been engineered to create a sense of deprivation among the Baloch populace. To bring peace in Balochistan, he stated, diplomatic efforts to address the grievances of the Afghans were needed to prevent Afghan soil from being used against Pakistan, and particularly Balochistan. He suggested collaborating with the Chinese leadership to address issues in this regard. In his recommendations, he put forth that Balochistan needed to be a full member of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee, that Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan needed to be provided their due share in CPEC, and that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be established to look over the disputed affairs of FATA and Balochistan.
Ambassador (Retd.) Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who chaired the panel discussion, also shared his views on the speakers’ talks. He highlighted the role played by the Chinese government to help Pakistan secure economic stability; spoke on the political and security implications of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement and how the government needed to address it; and reiterated the need for the Pakistan government to correct its internal policies in order to secure any opportunities for security and economic prosperity.
The panel discussion was followed by a presentation of Policy Recommendations by Mr. Anas Abdullah, President CSCR. Mr. Abdullah highlighted what needed to be done to address the grievances of the Baloch populace emphasizing the need to bridge the gaps between the Baloch youth and those of other provinces. Discussing the work of Voice of Balochistan, an independent body that works with the government of Balochistan and the CSCR, he highlighted its focus on exposure visits of the Baloch youth to major cities of Pakistan, an effort which has brought about tangible positive shifts in Baloch perceptions; he argued that other provincial governments ought to do the same, ato help address g misperceptions on both sides. He also pointed out how only a small percentage of the budget allotted to previous Balochistan governments was actually used, linking it to the poor socio-economic, health and education indicators of the province.
The seminar ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Aiza Azam.