Securing regional peace
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi has completed his hectic diplomatic journey in the pursuit of securing regional peace as the situation is fluid due US-Iran tension, war hysteria of ruling BJP Indian leadership and Kashmir lockdown and lack of peace and stability in Afghanistan due to continued war there. In his week long trip, the Foreign Minister met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Kashmir, Afghan peace process and US Iran relations and above. He also met with leading members of US Senate Committee on Foreign relations. During his stay in the United States, Shah Mehmood Quershi held meeting with Un Secretary General Antonio Guterres and members of UN Security Council to apprise them about the human rights violation in the Indian held Kashmir. The Foreign Minister visited Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar a. He met with his counterparts of these countries wherein a range of issues that have direct bearing on peace of the region may have come under discussion.
As the signs of US-Taliban deal become visible, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Affairs, Ms Alice Wells has reached Islamabad on four day visit to hold a series of discussions with civilian and military leadership and senior officials of foreign office ministries of interior and finance. The main focus of her meetings with political and military leadership will center on Afghanistan. Situation on the line of control and Kashmir dispute may also come under discussion. If US-Taliban deal is signed, then a follow up diplomacy will ensue in the shape of high level visits of US administration senior officials to Islamabad. The top diplomat Alice Wells may also discuss the likely high profile visits of US officials later and meetings with Pakistani interlocutors in the post deal scenario.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Quershi has already cautioned against repeating mistake of 1980s made by the United States as the internal situation of Afghanistan is more complex as compared with the one that emerged after the Soviet troops withdrawal and subsequent eruption of fratricidal war among Afghan warlords. The existence of ISIS Khorasan international terrorist organisation, rallying other militant groups under its umbrella, is much bigger threat to not only peace in the region but the entire world. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his inaugural speech at Afghan Peace Conference in Moscow in November 2018, had emphasised the threat posed by this terrorist organisation to Central Asian States and its spillover effect to mainland Russia. ISIS is battling against the Taliban in Afghanistan and has carried out attacks terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In the post deal phase the elimination of ISIS is all the more inevitable to maintain peace in the region.
Ambassador Alice wells will be holding meeting with high officials of finance ministry for expansion of economic and trade relations. The United States is the only major trading partner with which Pakistan’s trade is in surplus. If after her visit trade delegation from the United Stated come and sign agreement, then the increased quantum of duty free exports to the American markets will have a salutary effect on the merchandise trade balance. The experts had already predicted that US-China trade war will bring some benefits for Pakistan. Let us hope that Alice Wells visit of Islamabad will prove as harbinger for restring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and long term arrangement of quid-pro-quo between Pakistan and the United States.