UN peacekeeping forces should prevent vacuum in Afghanistan post-US exit: Mushahid

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and Pakistan China Institute, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed Wednesday said that Pakistan has a pivotal role in ensuring smooth exit of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014.

Pakistan has convergent interests with neighbouring countries like Iran and Afghanistan, which is why it is necessary to work together to establish regional peace and security.

Senator Mushahid also underlined the need to prevent a vacuum in Afghanistan post US-exit, adding the best way forward is to have multinational forces under United Nations command which would have international legitimacy, and such forces should be countries which are not neighbours of Afghanistan.

The Chairman was addressing the inaugural session of an international conference on “Prospects of Trilateral Cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran”, organized by Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

Commenting on the emerging political landscape, the Senator explained that remarkable transformations are taking place which will have immense bearing on this region, including rapprochement between Tehran and Washington, and peaceful Presidential polls in Afghanistan exemplifying the supremacy of ballot over bullet.

“The past thirteen months have seen this whole region in a political transition with new leadership in China, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and India,” he pointed out.

Senator Mushahid said that it is important that this new leadership work towards rapid regional integration with larger and binding economic cooperation in energy, trade and infrastructure.

This, he said, is the only way to propel the region towards peace and prosperity.

“There is a shift in the balance of power from the West to the East which marks the 21st Century as the Asian Century with the peaceful rise of China and emergence of a Greater South Asia that includes Iran, Afghanistan, China and Myanmar,” the Senator remarked.

Emphasizing on the need for a common vision for regional progress, he urged regional leaders to adopt a policy of non- intervention in another country’s internal dynamics by respecting sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity.

“This is particularly significant in the context of the Syrian and Crimean crises,” the Senator said.

As a consequence of economic decline of the West, the Senator concluded, it will be possible for regional countries to shape and implement decisions made by their own hands which will be an immense plus for the region.

In this vein, he informed that the first ever Pak-Afghan Parliamentary Security Dialogue was held under his Chairmanship while the first Trilateral think tanks Dialogue between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan was held last year with the next one coming up in August.

All this is in a bid to empower the region and integrate it for mutual benefits, he explained.

Source: APP