Rede auf der 45. Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz - 08.02.2009
|Land / Organisation:||Islamische Republik Pakistan|
Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger,
Chairman of 45. Munich Security Conference,
Excellencies, Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentleman,
It is a matter of great Privilege and honour for me to address the 45. Munich Security Conference, a premier forum for candid deliberations an global security issues.
I am grateful for this opportunity to share Pakistan’s views on NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and its future. This ssues is of vital Importance for peace and stability in our region.
I wish to thank Abassador Wolfgang Ischinger for this imely and important initiative.
To us in Pakistan, Afghanistan holds a special significance. Peace and security of our two countries are interlinked. What afflicts one, invariably impacts the other.
For the last three decades, Pakistan has suffered the gravest fallout of the conflict in Afghanistan- Our stakes in its peace and stability are therefore, high.
Regrettably, our region, has for far too long, been a victim of history and circumstance. Over time, the troubles of Afghanistan have gone through different phases, morphing into one of the gravest and most serious challenges of our times: the challenge of extremism, militancy and terrorism.
But let’s be very clear. The genesis of the problem goes back to the decade-long foreign occupation of Afghanistan and the deliberate expoitation of religion by the free world to defeat a super power. The legacy of this strategy is now threatening the whole world. We are all equally responsible for it.
Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, in 1989, should have been followed by a well thought-out and comprehensive plan, to rebuild the country, within a democratic, pluralistic framework.
The international community should have assisted Afghanistan, in reconstructing its devastated physical, social and institutional infrastructure.
The international community should have provided opportunities for education and livelihood to the youth and the freedom fighters. A counrty-wide disarmament process should have been initiated. Instead, the hapless Afghans were all but abandoned.
Flushed with weapons, fired with ideology, and forgotten as the last vestige of a war just won, Afghanistan was left in a crippling security and socio-political vacuum.
International neglect, widespread poverty, lack of governance and sustained internecine warfare provided further grounds to the insidious spread of extremism and extremist ideologies.
The rise of the Taliban has to be seen in this context. Subsequently, the Taliban were hijacked by Al Quaeda thus creating a dangerous nexus. What followed is history.
Pakistan, as a frontline State during the Afghan Jihad could not and did not remain immune to these trends and tragedies unfolding across its western border. The presence in our country of the largest human refugee population in contemporary times stands testimony to this reality.
While this dangerous affliction was spreading, silently gnawing at the fabric of our societies, the world looked the other way.
Sadly, it took more than 3.000 lives, and a barbaric atrocity of the scale of 9/11 to awaken the world to the gravity of the situation.
The world`s response was prompt and massive. Since then the international community, including NATO has maintained a firm commitment to peace, stability and development of Afghanistan. Pakistan has been an integral and leading partner of this global endeavour.
Yet, seven years on, despite having made significant gains, the malady of extremism and terrorism continues to plague the region. It has roots in all countries of the region. The challenge confronting us today is big and complex.
A confluence of latent and conflicting interests, invisible hands, covert policies, free flow of arms, money and drugs and misplaced priorities have added to the complexity of the situation.
Popular perceptions of longstanding and festering disputes involving the Muslim populations, for example, in the Middle East, Iraq, Kashmir and more recently in Gaza, are further compounding factors.
It is time for dispassionate stock-taking. We need to honestly ask ourselves some basic questions:
One: Seven years on whether militancy and terrorism has been reigned in or is in fact spreading. What is the popular perception about the military strategy of the coalition in Afghanistan?
Two: What are the underlying causes and rallying points formenting extremism and terrorism? Are these beeing addressed in a meaningful and comprehensive manner?
Three: Has international assistance brought about a significant improvement in the lifes of the affected people? Is the international community truly following a broad-based and comprehensive approach to deal with this scourge?
After Afghanistan, perhaps no country has suffered more in human and material terms than Pakistan. We lost Benazir Bhuttoto to terrorists. Nearly 2,000 Pakistanis lost their lifes in more than 600 terror related incidents last year alone.
Pakistan’s economy has suffered direct and indirect losses of more than $ 35 billion.
In October last year, the Parliament of Pakistan adopted a historic Resolution declaring the Pakistani nation’s unswerving commitment to stand against the threat of terrorism and to address its root causes. This Resolution provides a comprehensive framework for a multi-proged strategy to deal with this serious menace. It also sent a clear message that the territory of Pakistan will not be used for terrorist activities, while our sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected.
In line withe this resolution, we are pursuing a multiproged strategy with the support, cooperation and owership of local populations.
Recent distractions at our eastern frontier notwithstanding, Pakistan is assiduously fulfilling its responsibilities along the western border.
The down of democracy in Pakistan has heralded a new era of understanding and cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. With Afghanistan, our democratic government has made a new and promising beginning. This has resulted in restoring trust and confidence and bringing about a fundamental and qualitative transformation in bilateral ties with Afghanistan in all spheres.
We have joined hands to move towards our common vision of peace, prosperity and development for our people and the region. During President Asif Ali Zardari’s historic visit to Kabul last month, I had the pleasure of signing, together with Foreign Minister Spanta, a landmark Declaration on Future Directions of Bilateral Cooperation.
The Declaration looks beyond the present phase of terrorism, and provides a clear and comprehensive framework to take forward Pakistan-Afghanistan partnership to higher levels, in the political, economic, security and social fields. It is also a manifestation of the aspirations and determination of our people for a better, peaceful and prosperous tomorrow.
Creating an implementing projects such as Turkmenistan -Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline project would create a stake for people living all along the route. A stake, where peace would pay clear dividends.
The Jirgagai process, emanating from Kabul Peace Jirga, has been a great success in bringing the representative segments of the people of the two countries together. The Jirgagai meeting held in Islamabad in October last year, made important strides in achieving dual objective of promoting dialogue with the opposition and forging a common agenda for development and people-to-people exchanges. Since then two further meetings of Contact Group of Jirgagai have taken place, achieving positive results.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are resolved to pursuing the Jirgagai process as a useful means for promoting dialogue and development.
The Tripartite Military Commission mechanism has proven useful in enhancing coordination both at the strategic and tactical levels. However, we remain concerned about financing and arming of militants. Recent incursions in our territory by militants are a matter of serious concern. Pakistan wishes to see the tripartite mechanism further strengthened.
More than 3 million Afghan refugees who are still in Pakistan pose an additional security risk, often providing nurseries and sanctuaries to militants.
On the regional plane, Pakistan will be hosting the 3rd Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) on 1-2 April 2009. We are in close touch with Afghan authorities and our international partners to make this conference focused and result-oriented. This event, we hope, will prove to be a milestone in assisting Afghanistan in its developmental efforts and forging greater regional cooperation.
Critical situations demand critical appraisals. This is an opportune moment to readjust our strategy on the basis of lessons learnt. Our way forward must be grounded in strict adherence to principles enshrined in the UN Charter, observance of international law and respect for the free will and aspirations of sovereign States and their peoples.
It is our considered view that the future course of action to deal with this growing problem should incorporate the following essential elements:
One: The international community must adopt a regional approach in resolving this problem which is essentially regional in nature. Only those solutions enjoying the support of regional countries would be sustainable.
Two: This complex problem requires a multi-faceted, comprehensive and balanced approach. Over emphasis on military dimension has not proved fruitul. For lasting success of any endeavour, the people must assume ownership.
Three: In the battle for hearts and minds, the power of persuasion must be stronger than the effects of coercion. An inclusive process must include dialogue and reconciliation.
Four: A generous focus on reconstruction, development and social welfare with participation of all stakeholders. To attain durable security, the dynamic and logic of development must trump the dynamic and logic of force. The campaign against extremism will not be won in the battlefield but in classrooms and the mind of the people.
Five: Drug money is a major source of terror-funding. There is a need to address this issue in a comprehensive manner. Farmers growing opium will have to be provided alternate opportunities.
Six: There is need for better coordination of international efforts. All disconnects and fragmentations, including within the international coalition and NATO must be addressed.
Seven: An extensive sensitization campaign should be launched with the support of local communities to neutralize the impact and influence of militant ideologies and to correct negative perceptions that fuel extremism.
Eight: Any lasting and sustainable solution must respect local customs, traditions, values and religious beliefs.
We know that the difficulties are complex and daunting, and the road ahead winding, bumpy and long. Yet these obstacles are not insurmountable. Pakistan welcomes the international community’s unwavering resolve to remain meaningfully and effectively engaged to help root out the menace of extremism and terrorism.
Pakistan is a principal partner in this global compaign. Pakistan is determined to tide the difficulties with the support of its friends and allies. We will continue to strengthen our partnership with the international community. It is well within our capacity to harness our resources to defeat the common enemy. Together we can achieve lasting peace and stability and craft a better tomorrow for our coming generations.
I Thank You.
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