Punjab University seminar on Pakistan US Relations and India factor

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PU holds a seminar on Pakistan-US Relations and India factor
LAHORE : (Monday, May 31, 2010): Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab in collaboration with US Institute of Peace arranged a seminar on Pak-US relations: India Factor. Khalid Mahmood, former Ambassador of Pakistan, Khaled Ahmad, Eminent Journalist, .an Editor of Friday Times and Farooq Hasnaat, a Prominent expert on South Asia, associated with Pakistan Study Centre participated in the seminar. Prof. Dr. Massarrat Abid, Director, Pakistan Study Centre, introduced the panelists.

Former ambassador Khalid Mehmood talked about the nature of relations between Pakistan and United States . According to him these relations have long and chequered history but at the same time, there are phases of intense engagement and estrangement. He believed that the expectations of the two sides have remained quite divergent as the strategic needs were also quite different. For Pakistan , US is an indispensable ally as Pakistan needs it for its economic and military assistance. While for US, Pakistan also has a lot of importance for its engagement in Afghanistan and fight against terrorism. The speaker strongly refuted the general perception that the relations were not mutual, and Pakistan had become a client state. He believed that, the Indian Factor also did play an important role in Pak-US relations. The large Indian community in the US, its effective lobbying in the US Congress and its strong presence in US think tanks and academia, have contributed to strongly influenced US policy-making towards Pakistan. However, he was of the view that it was the intellectual and moral crisis in Pakistan which has led to wrong perceptions in US media and general public. According to him, the panacea lay in good governance and institution-building in Pakistan as without making our house in order; we cannot exclude the influence of a third party.

Prominent Journalist, Khaled Ahmad pointed out that all super powers in history have faced the dilemma of hatred from the weaker powers. So the phenomenon of the US is not unique. Pak-US relations have remained dependent on the global and regional perspectives of the two parties. As the two perspectives were at times divergent, the relations also became tense and not cordial. According to the speaker, it is our nationalist-cum-militarist narrative which had created India as the enemy and consequently necessitated a strong military and militant mind-set. He believed that state authority and writ of the government was gradually eroding in Pakistan as non-state actors, in the name of Jihad, were getting out of control. In his opinion, Pakistan should develop cordial relations with India as it would help the state to check the non-state elements. He emphasized that national interest and economic relief to the people should be deciding factors in the foreign policy of Pakistan . In this direction, we should learn from Chinese experiences of the displaying a great deal of resilience towards her enemies. Similarly, US and China and on the other hand China and India had been enemies and at the same time there is a good deal of trade relationship between these adversaries. Dr. Farooq Hasnaat pointed out after US withdrawal from Afghanistan ; Pakistan must not engage in proxy war and should refrain from entanglement in Afghanistan . The seminar ended with a question-answer session conducted by Prof. Dr. Massarrat Abid.