The Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), Islamabad organized a virtual conference title “Evolving Geo-Politics of the Middle East: Implications for Pakistan.” The panellist of the webinar included professional experts and scholars on the pertinent topic.
Raja Faisal– Senior Journalist, and Advisor on Indo-Pak & SAARC at COPAIR moderated the virtual session. Khalid Latif – Program Director Middle East, COPAIR in his opening remarks stated that the Middle East, for decades, has been one of the primary sources of economic revenue for Pakistan. However, in the last few years, geostrategic compulsions have necessitated Pakistan to adopt a balancing act to safeguard its core national interests.
Lieutenant General Naeem Khalid Lodhi (R) – Former Defence Secretary of Pakistan gave an extensive insight on the “US Afghanistan Exit and Implications for Pakistan.” He was of the view that all the stakeholders and actors must warrant rhetoric of Afghanistan-led- and Afghanistan-owned of peace to reality. Afghans should remain independent in deciding the power-sharing in the aftermaths of the US withdrawal.
Marvin G. Weinbaum – Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies, the Middle East Institute, brief on the topic- “Pakistan: Navigating the Shoals of Middle East Politics.” He gave an inclusive overview of Pakistan’s prospects of diplomatic engagement in the Middle East region. Furthermore, he urged that Pakistan should focus to utilize opportune time for setting the bilateral relations on firmer ground, one not based as so often in the past on unrealistic expectations.
Arif Rafiq – President, Vizier Consulting, LLC spoke on Pakistan-Saudi Relations in the Era of Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). He presented an extensive review of bilateral ties between the two states. The military and development partnership between two states will persist in the foreseeable future. The decision-makers must adopt stringent policies to create a pathway for FDI coming from KSA, and it will further diversify ties from strategic to economic partnership.
Umer Karim Visiting Fellow, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) London, discussed the Power-Politics of the Middle East and Pakistan. Pakistan must revamp its conventional policy apparatus in alignment with the fresh developments, with the changes in regional political dynamics. For bloc politics of the Middle East, he suggested that Pakistan must adopt a non-interventionist policy and should foster ties based on positive-sum gains.
Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf (R) addressed “The Greater Middle East.” He stated that Pakistan’s threat assessment needs a historical perspective combined with the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Pakistan should opt for an indigenous plan to counter the Geo-strategy; Pakistan must ensure a sustainable economic growth trajectory- driven by an agriculture base its durable sovereignty.
President COPAIR- Ms. Amna Malik in her concluded remarks extended her facilitation to all the panellists and participants. She pronounced that Pakistan cannot afford any destabilization due to several fault lines. Therefore, a holistic approach and inclusive policies out of zero-sum prism will guarantee Pakistan’s national security. Approximately 250 people from Pakistan and abroad, including representatives of the public and private organizations and students attended the two-hour-long session virtually.