Pakistan is facing the severest internal challenge from terrorism, which must be decisively addressed in a consistent policy where the state dominates both the narrative and the outcome. Without that, no peace or resolution of the ongoing strategic drift will find conclusion. Whatever course corrections Pakistan has made, or is trying to make in reaching out to its neighbours for peace will be wasted political capital without an unambiguous, time-lined mandate for Constitutional benchmarks in talking to terrorists.
This was stated by former Ambassador and Jinnah Institute President Sherry Rehman during an annual interaction with government staffers from the 100th National Management Course at the Jinnah Institute. Addressing senior level officers at the Jinnah Institute, Sherry Rehman maintained that it was imperative for Pakistan and other regional players to avoid the trap of power-brokering in Afghan affairs. With regional transformations well underway, post-election scenarios in both India and Afghanistan would profoundly determine future security and stability in South Asia.
Islamabad had initiated a ‘no-favourites’ policy in Afghanistan, three years ago which has now begun to yield a narrative dividend, but outcomes are still unresolved with so many leadership transitions going on to both the West and East of Pakistan. However, Afghan unwillingness to recognise the Pak-Afghan border will frustrate attempts to secure the borderlands in both countries against terrorists. She felt that Islamabad could also assist in political and economic stability initiatives in Afghanistan.
She said that India was making its voice heard at multilateral forums on the basis of its economic clout. India’s swing to the right may be temporary, but it will likely amplify its conditional diplomacy with Pakistan, especially if there is no resolution of the Mumbai episode trials.
Former ambassador and JI Honorary Vice President Aziz Ahmed Khan discussed Islamabad’s outreach to both New Delhi and Kabul and emphasised that Pakistan could no longer afford to have favourites in Afghanistan and the recent elections in Kabul have visibly demonstrated the Afghans’ commitment to democratic processes. The briefing was followed by an engaging Q&A session with the visiting officers who raised questions on key internal and external policy debates. The delegation was led by Dr Hashim Popalzai, Mirza Shams-ul-Hassan and Brigadier Muhammad Ilyas amongst other senior faculty members at National Management College.