“Navigating Peace & Security in the Region & Beyond: Pakistan’s Role”
The Centre for Afghanistan Middle East and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), in collaboration with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)hosted a two-day International Conference on “Navigating Peace & Security in the Region & Beyond: Pakistan’s Role.” The two-day International Conference brought together a group of eminent academics and practitioners from around the world. The second day of the Conference included sessions on non-traditional security challenges, regional peace and security, and counterterrorism.
The fourth working session, titled “Innovative Approaches to Non-Traditional Security Challenges,” was moderated by Dr. Adil Sultan, Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace and Strategic Studies (FASS) at Air University, Islamabad. The session featured presentations by Dr. Flavius CABA-MARIA, President of the Middle East Political and Economic Institute, Romania (MEPEI); Mr. Oves Anwar, Director of the Research Society of International Law (RSIL); and Dr. Arshi Saleem Hashmi, Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies at the National Defense University (NDU). The session addressed the nature of Non-Traditional Security, distinct from traditional security concerns, and emphasized its emergence in global discourse in the post-Cold War era. Discussion centered on the imperative of fostering international cooperation to address these challenges, with a notable reference to President Xi Jinping’s ‘Global Security Initiative’ promoting win-win collaboration. Additionally, the session explored the evolving Pakistan-Russia relationship, particularly their collaborative efforts to combat terrorism, with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) playing a pivotal role. Participants underscored the role of International Law as a tool to navigate Non-Traditional Security issues, facilitating problem-solving and consensus-building. Concerns were raised about the decline of International Treaties and Conventions in recent decades, leading to challenges to national sovereignty. Lastly, speakers emphasized the interdependence of states’ security and sovereignty, highlighting the multifaceted impact of Non-Traditional Security threats on political authority, border control, and autonomy, and advocated a people-centric approach with early prevention measures in this evolving security paradigm.
The fifth working session, “Global Perspectives on Regional Peace and Security,” moderated by Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed of the Development Communications division at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, featured a distinguished panel including Yi Hailin, Deputy Director General, National Institute of International Strategy, Beijing, China; Dr. Kirill Likhachev, Associate Professor at School of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University, Russia; Dr. Akram Umarov, Deputy Director, Institute for Advanced International Studies, Uzbekistan; and Dr. Hassan Abbas, Distinguished Professor of International Relations, Near East South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies (NESA), Washington, DC. Discussions centered on the intricate challenges and threats to regional peace, particularly in the context of Afghanistan, where abrupt US withdrawal led to concerns about the Taliban’s rise and the presence of terrorist groups. The speakers stressed the interconnectedness of regional and Afghan stability, calling for enhanced regional cooperation, strengthened bilateral relations, economic development, and conflict resolution between neighboring nations. Addressing state-building narratives, such as amplifying marginalized voices, considering demographic changes, and countering extremist narratives, was also emphasized as pivotal for lasting peace and security in the region, with Pakistan advocating for investments in law enforcement and interfaith dialogue.
The sixth working session, titled “Strategic Cooperation on Counterterrorism Efforts: The Way Forward,” was moderated by Mr. Salman Zaidi, Head of Programs at the Jinnah Institute, and included speakers such as Dr. Murat Aslan, Senior Researcher SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, Turkiye; Dr. Hashim Pashtun, Senior Research Fellow, Kabul Institute for Peace; Dr. Shabana Fayyaz, Chairperson of Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad; and Ms. Tamanna Salikuddin, Director South Asia Programs, USIP. The speakers noted Pakistan’s improved capacity to combat terrorism and its effective control over terrorism financing but highlighted the absence of robust counter-terrorism narratives. They acknowledged extensive US-Pakistan collaboration in addressing terrorism, with successes and failures, emphasizing the need for preventive efforts and collective pressure on terrorist organizations. Education was also emphasized as a vital tool in countering terrorism, urging Pakistan to develop an independent counter-terrorism strategy while promoting solidarity among states to thwart terrorist organizations and recruitment. The speakers underscored the multifaceted nature of strategic cooperation in countering extremism, encompassing both conceptual strategies and tangible resources.
The Key Takeaways of the Conference were presented by Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman BOG, ISSI, who said that the conference deliberations were rich and wide-ranging, presenting diverse viewpoints on a broad range of subjects. Ambassador Khalid Mahmood added that the Conference was a resounding success as it helped enhance better understanding of the profound transformations taking place at the global and regional levels, evaluated Pakistan’s role in peace and security, and offered clear ideas for an effective way forward.
Besides the distinguished speakers from Pakistan and abroad, the Conference was attended by a large number of scholars, academics, researchers, practitioners, students, members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of the media.