Islamabad, February 28, 2019 (PPI-OT): High Commissioner of Pakistan, Major General (R) Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat spoke on ‘Regional Security in South Asia: Pakistan Perspective’ at the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies (RCSS), Sri Lanka as a Guest Speaker for an in-house discussion recently, says a press release received here today from Colombo. The High Commissioner said that South Asian region is the most populous region in the world. He further added that the region is home to several ancient civilizations that correspond to many of the major religions of the world.
The South Asian region found its first formal expression in the shape of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in 1985, which presently comprised of eight countries namely; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Dr. Shahid Hashmat highlighted that over half a century after their independence, most nations of South Asia remain mired in a vicious cycle of poverty, deprivation and underdevelopment, which provided a fertile ground for intolerance and extremism. Such situation in turn has promoted conflicts and violence.
The region’s vulnerabilities are enhanced by political, economic and social instabilities as well as an increasingly fragile security environment, he added. On Pakistan’s perspective, the High Commissioner asserted that Pakistan sees national security and regional security to be an indispensable component of peace and stability within and outside its borders. One of the core regional challenges is the Kashmir Dispute, which is the most central regional conflict in the region. He said that the Government of Pakistan is committed to resolve all bilateral and regional disputes through peaceful means and negotiations with India including the Kashmir dispute.
The High Commissioner said that Pakistan condemns all forms and manifestation of terrorism. However, it rejects any unsubstantiated allegation without actionable evidence. Prime Minister Imran Khan extended complete cooperation to India in carrying out objective investigation of Pulwama attack, he underlined. He emphasized the need that SAARC countries must promote regional cooperation in all fields, especially the economic cooperation, on the basis of sovereignty and mutual respect without any hegemonic dictation by any member state.
Dr. Shahid Hashmat underscored that South Asia needs to overcome the bitter legacies of the past, in order to create an enabling environment for peace and stability, which is critical to unleash the synergies necessary for economic progress. Unless bilateral disputes are resolved, through peaceful dialogue, sustainable peace and security in the region would remain elusive, he added.
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