New roadmap for ties with US being finalised, Senate body told

Published July 15, 2021
National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, while briefing the committee, said an effort was being made to expand the ties from just being Afghanistan specific. — DawnNewsTV/File
National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, while briefing the committee, said an effort was being made to expand the ties from just being Afghanistan specific. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Defence and National Security was informed on Wednesday that a new roadmap for broad-based ties with the United States was being finalised.

National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, while briefing the committee, said an effort was being made to expand the ties from just being Afghanistan specific.

NSA Yusuf and his American counterpart Jake Sullivan are the focal persons for the respective sides for revitalising the relationship. The two met in Geneva in May in which they had agreed on greater engagement and economic cooperation.

The NSA said their focus was on putting in place an implementable and doable plan for taking the ties forward. The roadmap, he said, envisaged cooperation in commerce and trade, investment, vaccine manufacturing, climate change, defence sector and promoting regional economic connectivity.

He expressed the hope that there would be more frequent high-level engagement between the two countries in the coming days.

Speaking about Afghanistan, Dr Yusuf said the Taliban were much more mature, chastened and restrained than before. He said that much of the territorial gain made by the Taliban after the start of withdrawal of foreign forces was not through use of force, rather the demoralised Afghan troops were surrendering to them.

He said Pakistan’s policy on Afghanistan was very clear as it promoted an inclusive political settlement with a view to ensuring that the Afghan territory was not used against it.

The international community is also being informed about Pakistan’s concern over the potential fallout of the Afghan crisis, particularly the new influx of refugees. Pakistan fears that up to 0.7 million new refugees could come here if the violence intensified further.

On Pakistan-India relations, NSA Yusuf said the onus was on India to start the dialogue process after reversing the wrongs in held Kashmir, particularly the Aug 5, 2019 decision, its efforts to change demographic balance in the occupied territory plus the release of political prisoners and lifting of the internet blockade.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who was chairing the session, said the committee would present its own ideas and input as well on the issue of national security so that any policy that was formulated by the government could be inclusive, broad-based and representative of all shades of opinion.

He also proposed that lawfare be made an integral component of Pakistan’s approach on national security and underlined the need for a comprehensive counterterror strategy as well as a creative India policy that also has a broader South Asia perspective.

Senator Mushahid said that given the new emerging situation in which national security could no longer be defined in terms of military might alone, the concept of human security must include elements that were crucial for the well-being of the people of Pakistan, including health, climate change, population planning, food security and water scarcity.

The Senate committee unanimously approved the Maritime Security (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2021

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