Webinar focuses on solutions to multiple conflicts in gulf region

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a webinar on “Normalization in the Gulf Region: Significance for Turkey and Pakistan” held here Wednesday observed that commitment to peace, stability and dialogue can help offer solutions to multiple conflicts in Middle East.

The webinar was co-arranged by NUST Institute of Policy Studies (NIPS) and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies – ORSAM, leading Ankara-based Turkish think tank.

The webinar was moderated by Ambassador (Retd) Riaz Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, and was attended by Turkish and Pakistani experts, higher education experts, academics, security analysts, scholars and students.

In his opening remarks, Rector NUST Engr Javed Mahmood Bukhari highlighted Pakistan and Turkey’s earnest desire for a peaceful Middle East. He appreciated the development and modernization achieved by individual Gulf countries but stressed the need for moving from individual development to shared growth.

He also emphasized the need for inter-Islamic coordination and cooperation in establishing a broad-based multilateral framework for conflict management and resolution in the Middle East.

Ambassador (Retd) Riaz Khokhar said that Pakistan-Turkey relations were an exemplar of deep trust and reciprocal warmth.

He identified that the understanding the two countries had maintained over decades was a rare thing in the world of diplomacy.

Dr Ahmet Uysal, President ORSAM and Professor of Political Sociology at Istanbul University, highlighted the positive role that Pakistan had played in the Gulf.

He stated that the solution to multiple conflicts in the Middle East could be achieved through common commitment to peace, stability and dialogue.

He urged Turkey and Pakistan to develop their bilateral relations on a concrete basis so as to reap the trust dividend that had historically existed between the two brotherly countries.

Ambassador Javed Hafiz (Retd), a veteran diplomat with extensive knowledge of the Middle East, underscored the economic importance of Pakistan’s relations with GCC states and stressed the historic security cooperation with friends in the Gulf region. He said remittances sent home by 5 million Gulf-based Pakistanis comprised 60% of the total remittances by Pakistanis living and working abroad.

Lt Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi (Retd), former Caretaker Defense Minister of Pakistan, remarked that the role of emerging great power dynamics and the phenomenon of hybrid warfare were critical to understanding and framing the situation in the Middle East.

Dr Ghulam Mujaddid, Professor of Strategic Studies, Air University, stressed the need for enhanced bilateral trade between Turkey and Pakistan wherein Pakistan was increasingly supplying Turkey with goods and services that were currently being imported by Turkey from other countries in South Asia.

Dr Omer Aslan, Senior Fellow at ORSAM, emphasized that both Pakistan and Turkey had been traditional Western allies with similar experiences of partnership with the West.

He said new circumstances called for developing new rationales for fostering mutual cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan. Dr Turan Kislakci, Senior Fellow at ORSAM, said that promoting Pakistan-Turkey cooperation in the 21st century required correct appraisal of problems in the region.

In his concluding remarks, Professor Ashfaque Hasan Khan, DG NIPS and Principal NUST School of Social Sciences and Humanities, proposed that there was a need for Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and China to come to some high-level understanding for promoting integrated development cooperation for regional benefit.

He said CPEC as well Economic Cooperation Organisations provided an ideal platform for advancing this cooperation.