A Roundtable Discussion was hosted by RCSS on the occasion of the visit made to the Centre by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed of the Pakistan Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and delegation who were on an official visit to Sri Lanka. Senator Mushahid Hussain was previously a Cabinet Minister in Pakistan and at present is the Secretary of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
The Roundtable Discussion which took place on March 13, 2008 was attended by the former and present High Commissioners of Pakistan, H.E. Col. (Retd.) Bashir Wali Mohamed and H.E. Air Vice Marshall Shahzad A. Chaudhury; the High Commissioner of Maldives, H.E. Mr. Ali Hussain Didi, former High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan General Srilal Weerasooriya, former Officers of the military, former Sri Lankan Ambassadaors and High Commissioners – Members of think-tanks and representatives from the local, regional and foreign media amongst others.
Senator Hussain expressed his pleasure on the visit to RCSS having been associated with its Executive Director Prof. Rifaat Hussain over a long period of time. He proceeded to give an overview of the warm bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the desire of Pakistan to have similar relationships with other countries in South Asia.
Speaking on the political scenario in Pakistan following the elections that had taken place Senator Hussain said that he was happy that Pakistan had just concluded a very good election. Although most critics had predicted some form of instability following the elections, they have been proved wrong. The Senator pointed out that the people of Pakistan showed maturity, with the victors and losers both accepting the election results. While difficulties and mistakes have happened in the past, the main characteristic of the Pakistani people is their tremendous resilience as they overcome and bounce back after any problem. The present time was shown to be a ‘bounce back period’. He further stated that Pakistan would have a grand coalition with the democratic process being an antidote to events of the recent past. He highlighted that the situation in the region has also been getting better. There is more stability in Iran and Nepal and the power of public opinion has intensified in India
A Roundtable Discussion was hosted by RCSS on the occasion of the visit made to the Centre by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed of the Pakistan Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and delegation who were on an official visit to Sri Lanka. Senator Regarding the Indo-US nuclear deal which shows that in all countries of the region, the power of public opinion has led to greater stability and the region is now settling down after the post 9/11 volatility and engaging in dialogue as the way forward.
He noted that there is now more cooperation among countries in the region and outside the region and there were new developments by way of Afghanistan been made a member of SAARC and China and the US becoming its observers. The energy issue was shown as a main reason for cooperation. The overall scenario in the region has become different from what it was and it is important to understand that there is an inextricable linkage between the security of states and security of the region. He pointed out that mistakes have been made even after 9/11 with the US intervening in Afghanistan and Iraq and not delivering on its promises. It has also been a mistake on the part of some countries to link Islam with terrorism which evokes reaction from Islamic states. However, the situation is becoming better and things are moving in the right direction. He expressed hope that after the regime change this year it can be expected that the US would be more sensitive to the Muslim, South Asian, European and even their own public opinion. He further stated that it was very heartening that during difficult times in Pakistan, all countries in the region, including India, expressed their support and now Pakistan is settling down to a democratic system.
The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer session.