Pakistan-Afghanistan Regional Dialogue: Prospects and Challenges

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Pakistan in collaboration with the Area Study Center Peshawar (ASC), University of Peshawar organized an academic conference on “Challenges to Bilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan Dialogue and their Solutions” at the Margala Hotel, Islamabad on 15th and 16th of November 2022.

The German Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Alfred Grannas, remarked: This conference has come in timely, when whole world is struggling to find ways to ensure stability in the country. Dr. Shabbir Ahmad Khan, Director ASC, in his welcome address, pressed that: Pakistan and Afghanistan should mutually respect their sovereignty and integrity, which is the only way forward.

Dr. Steffen Kudella, Resident Representative HSF Pakistan, in his address, articulated the ethos of HSF:

Since decades the Pakistan-Afghanistan region has been challenged by instability and fragility. These challenges are not isolated events but connected with each other and also with other events worldwide. We can only solve them together and in a holistic way.

The conference included speakers from Afghanistan, Germany, Uzbekistan, Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Pakistan. The speakers covered topics ranging from peace, cooperation and regional integration to opportunities and challenges vis-a-vis Afghanistan and the region at large. To promote the culture of rigorous academic research in Pakistan, one main part of the event featured research presentations by HSF Fellows who had conducted their academic studies with the support of HSF Pakistan. These presentations were discussed by the international and national experts at the event.

The conference was put together under the broader ambit of regional dialogue, which is interwoven with peace, democracy and development. Over hundred students and experts from eight universities attended the event. It also brought together academicians and political stakeholders from both countries, including former ambassadors and high-level government officials.