The Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) organized a webinar titled “Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan”

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Islamabad: The Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR) organized a webinar titled “Looming Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan”. The panelist of the webinar included professional experts and academic scholars on the pertinent topic with moderator Miss Sumaira Khan.

Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Afghanistan- Mansoor Ahmad Khan drawing on his experiential knowledge of the unfolding situation in Afghanistan since the events of August 15th enlightened the august audience. Delivering a keynote address, he appreciated COPAIR for conducting a timely webinar on a pressing humanitarian issue in Afghanistan and expressed his gratitude for being invited to share his views on the topic. While explaining the current situation in Afghanistan, he maintained that the hastily planned withdrawal of the US and NATO forces had left a vacuum to be filled by the Taliban. But in the absence of any viable reconstruction and rehabilitation plan, the war-ravaged country may plunge into further chaos. The nascent Taliban regime is struggling to secure much need international support and recognition to be able to effectively govern the country. He opined that the international community must appreciate the gravity of the situation and step forward to avert the looming humanitarian crisis. He said the frozen Afghan assets in foreign accounts have led to the collapse of the country’s banking system rendering the transfer of foreign funds into the country almost impossible. Notwithstanding the many daunting challenges confronting the country, he expressed hope about the future of Afghanistan and the Taliban regime given their growing international engagements to address the myriad issues at world forums.

President COPAIR- Ms. Amna Munawwar Awan warmly welcomed the speakers and expressed her profound gratitude to the speakers for attending the webinar and sharing their invaluable insights. She held that peace in Afghanistan is inevitable for peace in Pakistan as the two countries shared many common challenges and Pakistan’s current geo-economic vision was focused primarily on growth. Understandably, stability in Afghanistan is necessary for achieving economic growth and development. She underscored that while it is important to impress upon the Taliban regime to ensure women’s rights, it is equally important to appreciate their challenges and to extend diplomatic and financial support to address the myriad of pressing and complex issues afflicting the country. She underscored the need for a broad-based and inclusive governance framework to ensure the rights of women and the various ethnic groups. She expressed hope that the inclusion of women and diverse ethnic communities in the decision-making apparatus will go a long way in allaying international concerns addressing many governance challenges faced by the Taliban government.

Chairman, COPAIR, ISSI- Ambassador (Retd.) Khalid Mahmood while expressing his insights on the subject stated that Afghanistan is a global concern and rightly so. He provided an overview of Afghanistan’s political history and underscored that the country had long been in the eye of the millstone for centuries. He said the post-US withdrawal period marks a unique phase in the long history of foreign occupation and domination of Afghanistan. He said, due to the protracted conflict, the country had suffered huge losses in terms of brain drain due to the exodus of migrants into other parts of the World. He opined that Pakistan being a neighboring country of Afghanistan has always been at the receiving end of Afghanistan’s issue including the problem of refugees.

Coordinator at Pak-Afghan Youth Forum- Shahid Khan discussed in detail the trade statistics between the two neighbors. He explained that there was a time when trade between the two reached up to $800 million which has currently declined to only $328 million. He apprised the audience that in November-December the trade flowed primarily from Pakistan’s side, in January the situation changed and Afghanistan emerged as the leading exporter to Pakistan. He also talked about the deterrents of “Unofficial trade” between the two and why it was so crucial.

At the end of the event, the worthy Chairman thanked the speakers and the participants for the illuminating discussion. The event was well-attended and well-received by the audience.

 

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