Karachi: Abdullah Khurram, Research Associate, Centre for Pakistan Studies, Middle East Institute (MEI), Washington DC, gave a talk on Pakistan-US Relations in post-2014 Afghanistan at the University of Karachi.
The talk was organised under the aegis of the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi.
Khurram raised four philosophical issues which are at the heart of the debate between Pakistan and the United States: a) that Pakistan-US relations should be seen in their totality rather than looking at specifics or singular events; b) second, national friendships should be seen as different from personal friendships. While national friendships work on the basis of ‘interests being permanent rather than friends and enemies’, personal friendships and opinions about other states and nations should not interfere in the official business and policies of a state; c) for Pakistan, China is not the replacement and that Pakistan needs both the US and China in the future. Expressing his optimism relative to the rise of China, the speaker was confident that China’s economic potential would lead to stronger ties with the US in the future and that the US sees Pakistan and China as part of a cooperative security nexus in which economic factors have a vital role to play and d) that Pakistan needs to work hard to improve its image in international relations. The speaker contended that crime also inflicts American society yet the image of American society is a friendly one as opposed to Pakistan whose image is that of a society which is inundated with terrorists and terrorist groups.
The speaker reiterated that both Pakistan and Afghanistan in the post-US departure scenario need to work with, rather than against, each other and Pakistan can assist Afghanistan in its economic, governmental and security transition.
In reply to a question on Indian interference in Afghanistan and fears relative to it in Pakistan, the speaker opined that Pakistan and India could form a common proposal on Afghanistan and mitigate each other’s security concerns.
Prof. Dr. Moonis Ahmar, Dean, Faculty of Arts, in his final comments praised the speaker and stated that Pakistan needs to work on its political, social and economic development in order to build a soft image.
He opined that Pakistanis need to have a sense of ownership and come up with a credible creative approach so that novel and interesting ideas relative to the regeneration of the Pakistani state and society can be broached.