ISLAMABAD-Hungarian embassy in collaboration with Pakistan-Hungry Friendship Association marked the end of the communist era by holding a seminar at a local hotel here. It was a pleasant get-together and intellectuals, scholars and PHFA member participated in the event. The participants admired the event as it provided them with the opportunity to know about Hungary and its historic events.

Istvan Szabo spoke about his meeting with Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ in Rawalpindi. During the meeting, matters of mutual interest and regional security came under discussion. The two appreciated efforts to enhance bilateral relations. Syed Arif Shah, former commerce secretary, Wajahat Lateef, former IGP Islamabad, Ihsan ul Haq, president PHFA, were also present while Hassan Iqbal Gardezi, Tahir Ayub, Rashid Hamayun and Ch Nadeem-ud-Din represented business community of Islamabad.

Ambassador of Hungary Istvan Szabois is a modest man with great vision and with detailed knowledge of history. His wife is also not behind in promoting ties between the two countries. She is very dynamic.

Istvan Szabo delivered a detailed speech on the collapse of communist era in Hungary. He also briefed on the post-communist era and the progress made in the recent past. He explained many aspects which played a vital role in the collapse of Soviet Union. He said that according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the US planned to indulge Soviet Union in arm race which caused economic crisis in the Union. He further said that the invasion in Afghanistan in 1979 by Soviet Union was another cause of its collapse. He said that at that time, a new political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had started associated with Soviet leader Gorbachev and his glasnost policy reform. He came into power and there was change in domestic politics, which badly affected the communist system.

German catastrophe was another major blow for Soviets. He further said that Chernobyl disaster which was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 was another setback. Arm race, Chernobyl incidence, erosion inside the Soviet Union, Afghan war and uprising in east Europe facilitated the collapse of Communism. He said that Poland was more advance in revolt against communism. He also stated that in 1982-1985, we could not foresee the collapse of Soviets system because we were having a view that in the new setup of Soviet Union, a new guy had come and he was not happy with the old guys so the new guy wanted to have reforms in the previous structure based on communism.

He said that Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Afghanistan also trigged the collapse of Soviet Union. He further said that Hungary under Communist era had better living standards comparative to the East European countries. He shared another incidence of the refugees of East German in Hungary and how they managed to move to West Germany through Austria. This gave impetus to erosion of Communism.

We played role in reunification of Germany, he said. He summed up many incidences which resulted in withdrawal of Soviet troops. On 23rd October 1989, the Communist regime in Hungary was formally abolished, he said. He further that we did not throw a stone at Soviet troops and peacefully sent them back. In 1990, the first free elections were held and after that we developed our market economy and extended our foreign relations with different countries, he said.

Adnan Aurangzeb made a speech on Soviet rule and occupation of Afghanistan with effacts on Pakistan. He highlighted Pakistan’s perspective in communism era and said that Afghanistan which is located in the west had a huge strategic importance and the world great games were played in our region. At that time, the USSR wanted to get acess to warm water ports. He said that Pakistan whether it was good or bad with Western block engaged the USSR in Afghanistan. He said that the fact was that Zia ul-Haq at that time decided to fight against the USSR, adding that we fought third world war in the battle field of Afghanistan.

Adnan while highlighting the role and struggle of Afghan people and said that the way they sent Soviet troops back from Afghanistan, one day they would free their land from US troops also.

–The writer is a freelance contributor.