PR

LAHORE

Expressing concern over foreign interference in Balochistan, the Lahore Forum stressed the need for close ties with all ethnic groups in Afghanistan and better coordination with Iran.

At a meeting of the Lahore Forum, the situation following drawdown of American troops in 2014 was discussed at length and certain conclusions were reached. It was felt that these could prove helpful to Pakistan in formulating its policy.

The meeting was chaired by Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Chairman Regional Peace Institute. Dr Kamal Alam an expert guest speaker was invited to the meeting which was attended by prominent intellectuals, analysts and media anchors/columnists including Begum Mehnaz Rafi, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Prof Hasan Askari Rizvi,  Sajjad Mir, Irshad Arif, Salim Bokhari, Saeed Aasi, Brig (r) Farooq Hameed, Farrukh Sohail Goendi, Khalid Chaudhry, Mian Saifur Rehman, Mazhar Qayyum, Salman Abid and Tanwir Shahzad.

Dr Kamal Alam is a nephew of late Air Cdre MM Alam one of the heroes of the 1965 war. Dr Kamal did his PhD from Durham University. He holds a post graduate degree from Damascus University. His PhD thesis examines the geopolitics of Afghanistan and the Arab World.  He has taught senior members of the Qatari Army and advised many institutions on aspects of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations. He has worked at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.

The members of the forum felt that Pakistan should learn some lessons from the civil war in Afghanistan following the Geneva Accords of 1989 and for which Pakistan paid a major price. It should do all in its power to prevent a repetition of a similar situation following the drawdown of American troops in 2014.

The members felt that were such a situation to develop, beside Afghanistan, Pakistan would pay a major price. Pakistan should use all its influence with the Afghan Taliban to bring them to the table with the Afghan government as well as the United States.  The members agreed with Dr Kamal Alam that Pakistan should have good relations with the Pushtoons Tajiks, Hazaras and other communities in Afghanistan. Kasuri informed the members that during his term as Foreign Minister, he tried to follow this policy.

In response to questions from the members regarding the status of the Afghan National Army, Dr Kamal Alam stated that Afghan National Army (ANA) and Police (ANP) were corrupt, poorly motivated and  ill trained to handle Afghanistan’s security after the drawdown of US/NATO forces by end 2014.