As the US forces prepare for withdrawal from Afghanistan, a wide range of possibilities are being discussed. At such a moment in time, several questions arise – what does peace in Afghanistan mean for Pak-Afghan relations? What is Pakistan’s role in the ongoing Peace Process? and how will the withdrawal affect the joint fates of Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Panelists from Pakistan and Afghanistan
In order to answer these questions, the webinar offered a platform to a diverse panel of experts, analysts, and academics from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan Panel included Mr.Fateh Gul Shinwari, Mr. Abdul Latif Mal Shinwari, Mr. Sangar Amirzada, Mr.Nazar Muhammad Mutmaeen, Dr. Abdul Latif Nazari, Mr. Sami Yousafzai, Mr. Obaidullah Baheer and Mr. Obaidullah Akhundzada. Meanwhile, the Pakistani panel included Dr. Shabana Fayyaz, Dr. Salma Malik, Dr. Talat Shabbir, and Dr. Khurram Iqbal.
The Panel Discussion was preceded by a Keynote Address by H.E. Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil, the current ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan. This was followed by a welcome note by the Director-General, PAYF Mr. Salman Javaid. Afghan Member of Parliament, and Member of Negotiation team, Fawzia Koofi, also presented a special address. Ambassador Aziz Ahmed Khan, who was the former Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan, delivered the closing address. The session was moderated by Senior Broadcast Journalist, Nadia Naqi.
Panel Discussion Overview
The discussion largely revolved around Pakistan’s role in the current peace process. Where Pakistan’s efforts to enable dialog between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban were widely acknowledged by the panelists. Calls were made for Pakistan, to leverage its relations with the Taliban into bringing them back to the negotiating table.
Furthermore, the discussion included the possible grounds for cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, including trade, education, culture, and security. The need to build better people-to-people (P2P) relations was also highlighted. Afghan Panelists also expressed the need to change Afghanistan’s perception and demanded that their country be viewed as equal.
While acknowledging Pakistan and Afghanistan’s history together, many of the panelists spoke about the need to move on, towards a brighter future. They also discussed creating joint platforms for trade, education, media, health, and security, so that both sides may open roads for communication, and address the trust deficit.
The concluding remarks included a summary of all that had been discussed, and further mentioned that such webinars and forums were a great way of generating dialog, and generating joint solutions.
You can find the full recorded session below. For more information, see event report: