Aspects of regional cooperation against terrorism discussed


ISLAMABAD: Shi Lan, an eminent Chinese scholar and deputy director of Institute of Central Asian Studies (ICAS), Urumqi, has said that though terrorism was a common foe for everyone, different countries have their own definitions of terrorism and their own policies of dealing with it.She was discussing the different aspects of regional cooperation against terrorism in a three-day international conference on ‘Pak-China Relations: Bilateral and Beyond Bilateral Exchanges’, which resumed at the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, on Monday.She was of the view that the US and its allies had spent astronomical amounts fighting the war against terrorism, however, even more than one decade after the US launched its ‘war on terror’, terrorism was far from dead. To the contrary, it was still taking the lives of innocent people from Asia to Africa and from Europe to America.“So there was something wrong with the global anti-terrorism policy, and it has to be sorted out what can be done to fix that,” she remarked.One obvious deficiency, according to her, was the lack of global consensus on the fight against terrorism. She also criticised the double standards of some major powers in defining and dealing with terrorism.The conference has being organised by the institute in collaboration with three Chinese institutions – Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Chengdu, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Kunming, and Institute of Central Asian Studies (ICAS), Urumqi – along with two Pakistani universities – University of Peshawar and University of Management and Technology (UMT), Lahore.In another presentation, Centre for South Asia West, China, Executive Director Dr Xie Daigang emphasised the importance of Pak-China economic corridor for both countries, as it would connect the West China with Pakistan through road and railway links, besides oil and gas pipeline and optical fibre.He said that this corridor was not merely a passage; instead it would provide development opportunities in the areas of infrastructure, energy, agriculture, water conservancy, etc.He said that Pak-China economic corridor was an important part of China’s national strategy for the near future. He also underlined various challenges the idea was caught up with, including the harsh geologic environment and insufficient infrastructure in Pakistan. He suggested the upgrading of Karakoram Highway and creation of livelihood projects along the corridor as the potential solutions to the problem.Xu Haomiao, a research associate at the XJASS, Umruqi, presented a detailed analysis of the trade situation between Xinjiang and Pakistan in recent years. He pointed out that there was a huge imbalance in trade where Xinjiang had a trade surplus. He further pointed out that a significant decline could also be observed in the trade since 2012 due to various reasons.Referring to the solution of the problem, Xu suggested that Xinjiang should make full use of preferential policies of the state to expand economic cooperation with Pakistan. He also said that the customs clearance procedures should be eased and the efficiency of Pak-China Highway be enhanced.Dr Zhihui Song, senior researcher, ISAS, Changdu, threw light on the possibility of Sino-Pak cooperation in Afghanistan.He said that Afghanistan faces many threats after the withdrawal of NATO forces in the areas of domestic security and restoring its economy, especially due to the shortage of aid from international donors. He stressed that Pakistan and China must collaborate and work closer with Afghanistan in order to maintain peace and stability in the region.Earlier, keynote speaker Ambassador (r) Khalid Mehmood endorsed the idea of Pak-China economic corridor and called for determined efforts from the authorities concerned to make this dream come true. He stressed that Pakistan also needed to think strategically by strengthening its services and industries to benefit from this corridor in the future. Other who spoke on the occasion included IPS DG Khalid Rahman, Air Commodore (r) Khalid Iqbal, Brigadier (r) Said Nazir, IPS Lead Coordinator Irfan Shahzad and IPS researcher Fatima Habib.

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