tv Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. at the Institute of Peace CSPAN3 March 4, 2019 3:08pm-4:31pm EST
. >> i think we'll go ahead and get going. thank queue for coming. my name is andrew wilder. i'm vice president of the center at usip. thank all of you for coming. thanks those of you who are joining online. a word of apologies. you'll not be surpriseded to hear that over the last week, we've had a surge of interest in this event. so, many of you have maybe ended up in the overflow space, so apologies for that. for those of you who are new, usip was founded in 1984 by congre
congress, an independent national institute did kate e d peace is practical, and essential to u.s. and global security. usip has been working in pakistan for many years. we have a focus on trying to increase tolerance for diversity in pakistan, working with a broad range of civil society actors, innovators, scholars, policymakers, but what we do back here in washington we feel is also important in trying to keep the american public informed and policymakers informed about what's happening in pakistan as well as in all the other countries in which usip is working overseas. it's a pleasure today to invite ambassador asad majeed khan to usip. he is no stranger to washington. he served here before. this event is very -- proving to be very timely and much more so than we envisioned when we originally scheduled it. this past week witnessed what
some are describing as the most serious military confrontation between two nuclear states in recent history. so we are pleased to have the am das door with us today to discuss this crisis, not just this crisis, but the u.s. and pakistan relationship. as we're a peace institute, we like to hear perspectives from all parties. we're also, therefore, reached out to the indian embassy in the hopes that we'll have an opportunity for the indian ambassador to speak at usip at some point in the not too distant future. ambassador khan has a long and distinguished career in the foreign service of pakistan spanning fearspan ing nooearly three decades. pakistan's ambassador to japan, he served from 20127 to 20129. again, to stranger to d.c. as he was here at the dcm at the embassy from 2012 to 2015.
he earned his doctorate from kyushu university in japan. after that, my colleague, who's the associate vice president here at usip, will join the ambassador on the stage for moderated discussion and question and answer. but i wouldn't be doing my job if i doesn't use this opportunity to put in a plug for maweed's book. "brokering peace in nuclear environments: u.s. crisis management in south asia." published by stanford about a year ago and this certainly very relevant to the happenings of the last couple weeks in south asia. so i encourage all of you to rush out and buy this online immediately. if you really want to understand what's been happening and how to respond to crises like this in south asia. so with that, i'll invite u.n. ambassador up to the stage and
thank you, again, for coming to usip. >> thank you, andrew. digs ting widistinguished guest. ladies and gentlemen. thank you very much for having me over at the united states institute of peace to speak about pakistan's policy responses to recent developments in our region and my priorities as pakistan's ambassador to the united states. for building a strong and sustainable partnership between our two countries. over the years, the institute has established itself as the first port of call for all newly arriving ambassadors from pakistan. we are thankful to the institute's leadership for their close and continued engagement with pakistan. we value it greatly.
i'm sure all of you have been closely following the recent developments in our region. however, before sharing my thoughts and perspectives on the recent developments, i'd like to start by talking about my priorities for the bilateral relationship and how it could be transformed into a long-term partnership based on mutuality of benefit. distinguished guests, pakistan/u.s. relationship, as most of you are well aware, is as old as pakistan, itself. over the last seven decades, we have pursued common goals inspired by shared ideas and common objectives. we have achieved remarkable s k successes whenever we have worked together. i have a long personal association with this
relationship. in my diplomatic career, spanning over 30 years, i have seen good times and challenging times. however, despite occasional differences and turbulence, the importance of the relationship and the need to stay engaged has never been lost on either side. for pakistan, our relationship with the united states remains a consequential and significant one. we are the fifth largest country in the world in terms of population. a vibrant democracy, a nuclear power, with a strategic location and the cusp of southwest and central asia and approximately to the persian gulf. we also have an active and well placedd pakistani-american community that enriches all facets of american society.
the united states is also pakistan's leading trading partner and significant source of frooreign direct investment. surprisingly, given pakistan's status as a major english-speaking nation, american colleges and universities remain a destination of choice for young pakistanis looking to fulfill their dreams. all this makes pakistan a significant player in its own right and a natural partner of the united states. for building a strong, susta sustainab sustainable, and long-term relationship encompassing security, economy, business, and people-to-people contacts. we, therefore, do not see our relationship with the united states through the prism of another country and would not want to be seen through the prism of another country.
in this backdrop, i arrived in washington determined to work toward building a relationship that is broad based and comprehensive, as well as long term and predictable. such a relationship, we are convinced, will not only serve the interest of our two countries but also act as a linchpin for the future stability and prosperity of the nation. distinguished guests, my arrival in washington, i must say, is also usauspiciously timed, as i come here after pakistan has gone through a historic democratic transition with a new government in place under the dynamic leadership of prime minister emran khan. a leadership that is committed to usher pakistan into a new era. the government wants to build a new pakistan that can be translated as new pakistan, in order to pursue a
people-friendly, development-driven, and peace-centric agent. the whole trust of the new government is to create an enabling environment that would allow the people of pakistan to pursue their dreams and aspirations for personal growth, social mobility, and economic development and prosperity. to this end, the government has already put in place a comprehensive plan designed to provide better access to health, housing, and education, to the people of pakistan. similarly important steps promoting austerity, fiscal discipline, and domestic resource mobilization, improving ease of doing business, enhancing competitiveness and productivity, are being taken to deal with our foreign exchange and trade-related challenges. we believe with much improved security environment, better
control over our energy crisis and development of a massive connectivity and transport infrastructure, pakistan is open for business. u.s. businesses and investors have historically had a significant presence in pakistan. despite all the challenges that we confronted over the last decade in terms of security, they not only maintained in pakistan but in -- only recently, exxonmobil has come back to pakistan in a big way, cargill has entered the pakistani market as well. we want to see more u.s. companies coming to pakistan. huge middle class and potential to emerge as a manufacturing hub for the entire region, pakistan offers a captive market for u.s. retailers and rich investment opportunities for the u.s. manufacturers. i'm here to seek and restore the opportunities, recognizing fully
now is the time to come to pakistan, sooner the better. as the prime minister recently told business investors in the middle east, pakistan is on the upswing. you do not want to miss the boat. ladies and gentle len, a prospero prosperous, pluralistic, pakistan, at the heart of the vision for pakistan, and it is this people and developments in the city that are driving the government. the prime minister is convinced that pakistan will not be able to pursue its development goals and aspirations until an unless we have peaceful neighborhood. the new government, therefore, wasted no time in reaching out to all of our neighbors, particularly afghanistan to seek dialogue, cooperation, and engagement. indeed, the prime minister, friendship, in his very first speech after the july 2018 elections, declaring that if
india were to take one step, pakistan will take two. since then, pakistan has opened up its corridor for sikh pilgrims from india. also made other peace ventures which unfortunately are unreciprocat unreciprocated. this past decade the pakistan/u.s. relationship has come to be seen through the afghan prism, notwithstanding the fact we have been partners before and hope to be friends long after the afghan crisis. of course, we can understand u.s. concerns . over 70,000 pakistanis including around 77,000 of our troops los their lives in fighting terrorism since 2001. pakistan, therefore, wants to see the u.s. succeed in bringing peace to afghanistan. pakistan wants to see an
afghanistan that is at peace with itself and peace with its neighbors. happily, there is today a fundamental convergence between pakistan and the united states on the need for achieving political settlement in afghanistan. prime minister khan has been advocating peace through dialogue in afghanistan long before it became fashionable. pakistan, therefore, supports president trump's broad vision for peace in afghanistan. our cooperation has been critical to the important progress being made by the ambassador in doha. pakistan will continue to extend its support for the doha process, afghanistan, peace in afghanistan, is ultimately a shared responsibility. it is, therefore, important to take all the stakeholders onboard and to guard against any spoilers who may not be invested in the success of the u.s.-led peace process.
pakistan also agrees that a dialogue that brings together the taliban and the national unity government is essential for evolving a roadmap for sustainable peace in afghanistan. it is ultimately up to the afghan people and their representatives to determine their political future. pakistan does not, however, want to be left holding the bag in the region. we hope the international community and particularly the u.s. will remain economically engaged in afghanistan. pakistan has also been host to the afghan refugees for almost 40 years. the hope that the peace settlement would result in repatriation of afghan refugees. ladies and jegentle lmen, as yo know, the past few weeks have witnessed a serious escalation between india and pakistan in the aftermath of the attack.
carried out a asktack against a convoy in occupied kashmir on 14th february. india pointed the finger at pakistan within minutes, the indian government and media went into overdrive whipping up war hysteria against pakistan. india paid no attention to the evidence. while rejecting the eindian allegations, the prime minister offered india an investigation and dialogue and promised to take action against anyone involveded in the attack if india could provide credible and actionable intelligence. the prime minister also asked india to introspect about what was driving young people to lose their fear of death and give up their lives fighting the indian occupation. hi also warned india that pakistan will be forced to respond if india commits aggression against pakistan.
unfortunately, india neither took up the prime minister's call for dialogue. on february 26th, india in violation of the u.n. charter, law, interstate new yorks, aggression by attacking pakistan. clearly india chose to act as judge judy and executioner. ridiculous camps of having hit a so-called terrorist camp inside pakistan and killing over 300 militants. these claims, as you know, have been totally debunked by neutral observers as well as element within india. india aggression against pakistan on 27th february, pakistan struck six sites inside occupied kashmir. however, when two indian aircraft violated our space, they were shot down.
our sole objective was to demonstrate that we had the right and capability to act in our self-defense. we also made it clear that we do not wish to further escalate and are ready to give dialogue a chance to resolve issues like a responsible and mature democratic nation. pakistan also called upon the international community -- ignored india's irresponsible actions of 26th and 27th february that had seriously -- peace and stability in south asia, and to urge india to deescalate. prime minister hahn once again stressed the importance of dialogue and engagement pointing out all wars start from miscalculation and once they start, they are not in anyone's control. he enforce pakistan's commitment to peace and dialogue, and as a good will gesture aimed at
deescalating the tensions between india, pakistan announced the release of the captured indian pilot who has already safely returned to india. the indian pilot handed over by pakistani officials at the border. nearly hours later, pakistani officials were back at the border this time to receive the dead body of a pakistani who had been beaten to death in an indian prison. ladies and gentlemen, prime minister emron hahn has been consistent from day one in seeking peace and dialogue in india. he has shown courage, vision, and restraint as befits a leading nuclear power. we do hold -- some sense -- prevail in india allowing the previous government to see the escalation with pakistan. beyond the political domestic considerations and the serious threats it posed to peace and
security in the region and beyond. however, it is a matter of concern that the frenzy that the indian government whipped up around the attack resulted in those being attacked and hungry around india, even as leaders are being rounded up and imprezzimprez prison vp imprisoned by forces. the atrocities the people have suffered particularly since 2016. that are now duly documented in the reports. the international community cannot afford to continue getting it wrong. it must recognize that real regional stability in south asia is the unresolved dispute of kashmir. it's time to address the oldest dispute on the u.n. security council table. ladies and gentlemen, before i conclude, let me reiterate the importance pakistan attaches to its relationship with the united
states and our desire to build a long-term and broad-based partnership between the two countries. i thank you very much for your patience. >> thank you, ambassador, as always, very comprehensive and eloquent. wa we'll do here is have a bit of a chat. and then open it up for questions from all of you and cowell i request my colleagues to see if we could get questions from the overflow room as well. we have a large crowd in a couple of other rooms as andrew mentioned, this was an oversold event, so i want to make sure they can be part of this. ambassador, let me first begin by the only soft ball i'm going to give you today. >> okay. >> how's it to be back in washington? >> i'm very happy and delighted
to be back. although, on paper, i presented my credentials on 11th january, but i had to go back to japan to basically do my farewell call in tokyo. so i arrived here in early february and then i was in germany when it happened. so, and we've been at it. so i still have to go out to -- >> still jet lagged. let me begin, quite honestly, by asking you, you've had some of your official calls, i know. is this a really different d.c. than what you left in 2015? definitely a new administration, but the relationship, also. >> i think, yes, d.c., at least this is what i hear from
everybody, and i would say that i have still, or i have yet to find it out for myself because i have only done a few calls so far, that d.c. is different from what it was before. but so far, i have been -- i was certainly very warmly received by the president for my credentials and i've also been very warmly received by senior state department officials. so the challenges in the relationship, it never was an easy relationship and there never was, or there never is a dull moment in this relationship. from that perspective and point of view, i, frankly, still don't see much of a difference, but the jury is still out. i may be in a position to -- >> so let me sort of stay on the u.s./pakistan for a bit anding a you, you've mentioned in your
opening remarks the importance of pakistan and the u.s./pakistan relationship's history. the way the world is moving, there's an obvious gio strategic outlook. the u.s. and china seem to be now the obvious competitors moving forward in terms of great powers. pakistan, for many in this town, has already made a decision, a choice, which is to be in the chinese camp. there's a china/pakistan economic corridor. there are billions of dollars flowing from that. and many would argue that courting pakistan at this point for washington makes no sense because ultimately, it's the u.s. and india strategic partnership that's much more important. how would you respond to that? >> you know, i think when you say this, you are, perhaps, looking at the world in terms of the classic -- that the world
had during the cold war where, you know, you existed in silos and where you were either one bloc or against that bloc. think t i think the world has changed tremendously and today china is the united states' largest trading partner. today, china is a major trading partner with india also. despite there being strategic competition, these relationships are not seen or perceived as eith either/or relationships and i think for pakistan, it is wrong to see our relationship and that's the point that i made in my presentation also that we don't want to be, you know, we are a very important and significant country in our own right, and our friendship with china is not something that started yesterday. it's been a relationship that has always been there.
even when, you know, china and united states were in completely opposing camps and they did not have the kind of trade and investment linkages and connections that they have today. in fact, pakistan played a role in, you know, in bringing china and united states. so it's -- and then in the context of cpacc also, think that does not mean that the chinese investments are to the exclusion of everyone else. i think if you look at our investment regime, and that's the point that i'll be making ex-tene extensively in washington, d.c., that those investment packages are available on a most favored nation status basis, and that china came to pakistan, frankly, when no one was ready to come to pakistan. today, the situation has changed fundamentally and remarkably in terms of the security turnaround
that we have achieved in pakistan, in terms of what we have done in overcoming the energy crisis, in terms of cpacc creating that basic infrastructure. that should allow us and enable us to move to the next level. where the process of industrializati industrialization, we have a 210 million population with 45% middle class, with 40% increase in their consumption power, you know, so all this opens up avenues for manufacturing and using pakistan as a connectivity hub in the wider region. so i really don't think that e the -- is the right thing to do
and conceive the relationship and realignment strictly in the manner they were seen or perceived 40 years or 30 years ago. i think this is a new world. this is where countries are basically looking for opportunities with friends and with their strategic competitors alike and pakistan doesn't want to beny differe any different. >> fair enough. one more on this then we'll switch to a harder topic. >> i thought this was the harder one. >> you make the point about the sort of economic space, the market, the size. that's taken. the problem with pakistan, of course, you sit next to two giants. two of the largest economies in the world and that, in fact, is also not going to change. apart from economics, isn't part of the problem in the relationship all the relationshthings the two sides have discussed the last three, four years, at least, have not been positive. there's afghanistan, where
there's tension, there's nuclear, where there's been an issue. there is terrorism which i will come to. where is the positive convergence that should create champions in this town? i'll be honest with you, one of the big changes from when you were here previously, i think those champions are gone because there's a lot of frustration with the relationship. >> i think you're not following -- and what he has said about the relationship and, again, obviously, and i think you are right, the challenge in relationship i would say for the past whole decade has been the centrality of the afghan issue as a part of the conversation and that has in a way influenced
everyone here in d.c., and, therefore, i think the convergence, and i think i would like to say that president trump has shown a lot of courage and vision in seeking peace or trying to achieve peace in afghanistan and on this particular score, i think he is on the same page with our prime minister and we are determined to work with him. and in that, i think would at least remove that elephant in the room that consumed all energy in the relationship and did not let us focus on issues other than that, but let me also say that, you know, there is a conversation in the public domain. >> sure. >> but then there are also realities on the ground. i mean, procter & gamble made
six times profits than their global average in pakistan. coke doubled and tripled their investments while, you know, this all happened during the last ten years. >> sure. >> so, you know, the businesses have their own sense and appreciation of a country and its potential, but then that conversation doesn't get reported in "the new york times." that conversation doesn't get reported in the "washington post." so, therefore, it is not part of, perhaps, yusuf's focus, also, but the thing is that nuclear, yes, i mean, that has been part of our bilateral conversations for as long as this issue has been in the village. >> i think that's a fair point and one of the critiques i have in the conversations here is that, yes, it is not as broad as it should be because there are other things that are happening in pakistan, but since
afghanistan, you mentioned afghanistan as sort of the issue that's holding things back. there seems to be positive news out of afghanistan and for the past two month the, three months, some of the narratives have changed on u.s./pakistan in terms of what's happening in afghanistan. what is pakistan's vision for afghanistan beyond saying it should be peaceful, you know, independent, and everything else? does pakistan, if somebody were to come to you today or the pakistani state and say, what is your ideal scenario out of this entire peace process, what would that be? >> i think, you know, i mean, the facts speak for themselves. there's no country after afghanistan that has suffered as much as pakistan on account of the conflict in afghanistan. so we have huge and direct stakes in seeing peace return to afghanistan. we would like afghanistan to be
a stable place with no ungoverned spaces that are used by elements against pakistan or anyone else. pakistan has also been home to almost 2.7 million refugees and much more for the past 40 years. so we would want them to return to their country and to be able to pursue their, you know, aspirations for economic growth, personal security, and all of that. so for us, and really, if you look at -- and i recall time back in '91 and, you know, early '90s, when there was this possibility of peace returning and pakistan and the wider region looking at the connectivity potential and how we could reach out to central
asia and the wider region as soon as we are able to achieve peace. so we have an economic stake. we have a security stake. we have a stake as a neighbor who has shared the burden of refugees for that many years, so in that way, you know, we would like to have peace return to pakistan -- afghanistan. and enable us basically, you know, to also pursue our economic and development goal. >> could i press on something that has been the talk of this town for a while, and i understand it's a difficult issue, but the future of the taliban seems to be becoming clearer in this peace process and, perhaps, there have been -- there's also the haqqani network. where does this conversation end
up whether there's a peace deal in afghanistan or not? because as far as i can tell, that issue still remains. >> i think, well, the peace process, i suppose, has overtaken all of the conversations and since u.s. is in direct conversation with the taliban initiative, and ambassador zaud has a fully empowered delegation, and i'm sure all these issues must be on the table for the two sides to discuss directly. >> okay. switching gears to india. since that, i'm sure, is on everybody's mind here and spending a little bit of time on that. and i promise to leave enough time for everybody to ask questions. maybe that's the hardest part, actually. last week, you talk about escalation, you talk about the dangers, absolutely. everybody was sort of looking at
this horrified. first, explain to us where you see india/pakistan going from here. you explained the die loalogue the prime minister of pakistan offered. clearly, that hasn't worked. but you still have a situation where tensions are high, the line of control is hard in kashmir. india and kashmir is not doing very well at all. and terrorism remains a very sort of realistic possibility. is there any scope for india and pakistan to do better in terms of at least preventing or managing the next crisis? or are we going to see a repeat which is going to be worse because tempers are high and emotions are high? >> yes. i think the situation is seri s serious. we have returned from the brink,
at least for now, but finding out that as soon as the indian pilot was handed over to the indian side, we have seen a marked escalation on the line of control. we have lost two of our soldiers and there are civilian casualties also. so, that's the difficult part and that is something that is keeping us on our toes. and the whole point, really, is -- and this is something that actually predates. you know, prime minister in one of his first speeches, and this is driven by his view and commitment that, you know, the
only way forward is through dialogue and engagement. by force, you cannot resolve anything. and unfortunately, that conversation track is not there and that leaves a vacuum where some kind of miscalculation, so consistently, you know, even at the cost of being seen as a country or as a leader craving for peace, you know, he has been time and again asking for dialogue and the whole point, really, is to avoid any kind of miscalculation that could seriously endanger peace and security. >> ambassador, i take your point, but let's be honest. i think, you know, andrew mentioned my book. i spent seven years looking at this. i can tell you that there is a movement in terms of the global opinion on these crises.
t 10 years ago, 15 years ago, the only conversation was denucle denuclearizati denuclearization. nobody wants nuclear war. i think you're seeing a discernible shift in this capitol and others where people are now having a conversation about the crisis trigger more than deescalation. so even if this crisis, in early 2016, there was the last major crisis, actually there were public statements that said india had the right to defend itself, this time it was counterterrorism. are we not in a situation where we're hostage to terrorist groups who are doing this, creating nuclear crises and what the world internalizes is that pakistan hand do pakistan hasn't done anything about it? >> you know, there is always a true story underneath the
bluster, underneath the layers of disinformation that is created. and i think the test of any leadership is to basically be able to have those communication channels that would actually allow you to go deeper into that and address the issue that you want to address because if you basically take a position that you are going to do this, this, this, this, if this, this, this, happened, you are essentially leaving the entire situation hostage to one, two, or a couple of individuals who may be rogue elements acting on their own, trying to basically create a warlike situation. and in that sphere -- again, i mean, within minutes of this
incident, india spoke about incontrovertible evidence. >> no, i take that point. >> and that evidence should have been presented. >> i take that point, but how -- how do you ex plplain explain j muhammad's claim of responsibility of this attack? i read yesterday that pakistan sort of, there was a meeting and it was reported in the press that pakistan is going to take action and make sure that all these sort of organizations are under the state control, et cetera. isn't the finger again and again being pointed at pakistan because of these groups? and if they're claiming responsibility to poke pakistan in the eye, isn't it even more necessary that this chapter close once and for all? >> no. i think, again, we are at it. you know, and you spoke -- you asked me about how different the conversation is today than what
it was when i was here last. and i've been part of this conversation now for almost 12 years continuous. >> sure. >> and i strongly urge you and those in the audience revisit some of the u.s. talking points. back in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014. >> sure -- >> i have read "new york times" editorial in 2009 declaring that taliban are 70 kilometers away and they're going to soon take over islamabad. today the most popular tourist destination in pakistan once again. we heard about clearing the agencies, the tribal belt. we heard about dismantling networks. we have done all of that.
since 2017 alone, pakistan has carried out 20,000 intelligence-based operations. in pakistan. >> sure. >> and the improved security situation would speak for itself. i can tell, there's no organized presence of any terrorist group in pakistan. i can say that with a responsibility. >> one more. and then i promise to move on and open it up a couple of more questions. isn't it true that one of your biggest challenges as ambassador or pakistan's challenge, is to correct some of the negative perceptions about pakistan or the image problem, as some would call it? and wouldn't you agree that there is an inherent contradiction between trying to do that and the world's mikescopic focmik microscopic focus. how do you actually move away
from that if that conversation continues to be where it is? >> no. i mean, as i said, we are at end. and we will do what is in the best interest of pakistan, and the point i am making is that we have done a lot already, and i described this as a linear progression in the right direction. i think we are continuously moving. and there have been -- it was part of the national action plan. it may not have been implemented the way it was supposed to have been implemented. but we have taken a series of factions against these outfits, and we are determined to take it to the logical conclusion. >> so could i ask a yes or no question? is pakistan's approach to this issue indiscriminate? >> it is. >> one question on the economy, and we'll move on. we've heard a lot about saudi
arabia, the uae, other people coming in and supporting pakistan financially in recent times, both through cash infusion, but also through investments. there's been a lot of debate about the imf, going to the imf, not going to the imf. and this question i quite frankly ask you more from a pakistani perspective than any other. all of this, to me, to be very honest, as an analyst, is irrelevant. the money has come in, especially the cash infusion, all of that has happened through the current crisis. but the conversation keeps coming back to when pakistan will make the structural reforms that take away the need for the pakistani prime minister to go around and then come back and report to his nation. ultimately, here is how i ask the question. if there were no imf, and if there were no xpat pakistanis
sending money back, what is the plan to get pakistan on the road to progress without full back into the crisis over and over again. >> yes. i think there are two parts to what you just said. first of all, i think going to imf is not that big of a stigma as it is usually presented to be, i think, as a member of imf, we have a right to explore that option. >> so -- >> and we have done that several times in the past. >> sure. >> and if need be, we will do it once again. but i think if you look at the steps that -- and, yes, we need to do -- undertake steps and those hard reforms that would basically -- and, in fact, last time this was for the first time
that we availed all the aid transfers and actually told the imf that we don't need you any more. so we would like to get to that point. and for that already you know, be it tariff rationalization, be it exchange rate adjustments and making it more realistic, be it expanding the domestic tax base and a range of measures are already in the pipeline. obviously, it will take time for everyone to see the results, either doing business, enhancing productivity. so there is a slew of measures that the government is already looking at and has already taken also. so the bottom line is that we are ready to take those hard -- make those hard choices and take those hard decisions that you would require to stall the possibility of resorting to this again. >> sure. my final question.
>> oh. >> and it ties to something close to our -- all of our hearts at usip and this whole field. and it goes back to the image question. and i put this very question to the pakistani foreign minister when he was here. the issue of international nongovernment organizations. i completely take the point, it's not a pakistan-specific. i know india is doing this, and everybody else. my question to you is about pakistan. we talk about the image, we talk about opening up to the west. and on the other hand, we also see, you know, this sort of crackdown on ingos perhaps. 38 ingos on the list. now very recently. i completely understand the legal issues and all of that. how do you square this with the image issue? because, you know, being in this field, i can tell you, the organizations on the list, the ones i know, are not what
they're being labeled as. you know, there are respected names in this field. what is the mechanism, and let me just frame it by saying that i had a recent conversation with somebody and i thought they made a very important point. which was other countries do this, as well. it's a global trend, a number of countries in the region are kicking out ngos. but this was an ngo person telling me, at least we know what we have to do to stay or be kicked out. we are not clear on the benchmarks of what being used to make this decision. >> first of all, i think i would not describe -- >> wrong word. crackdown was the wrong word. i knew you were going to go there. >> i think we are -- >> sorry. sorry. >> we are engaged in -- >> if requesting them to leave. >> no, no. i think we are -- in fact, we have cleared most of them. and perhaps they also face the same image problem that we face.
and -- but, again, i think the -- and this is something that we used to always discuss in new york. during my second committee days in terms of the necessity to let the country determine the development priorities. >> okay. >> and then to request our international partners and friends to come and support and help us where will we need that help. we, as i said, a large majority of the ngos want to work, have already been cleared. consistent with the priorities that the government has laid out. there are issues with some of
the advocacy-related ngos. we are also working on that framework, and we are in conversation with them and dialogue with them. and i tell you, there is no priority exclusion of anyone. and we will give reasons for exclusion, and we hear it from ingos interested in working in pakistan. and i have heard this before also, that they want to know the reason why. so we are engaged in that conversation. we would continue to stay engaged. and i want to say that we value -- greatly value the good contributions that some of the ingos have made, including yusef. which is not an ingo. >> no, actually, we have a very good partnership. and thank you for that. just as somebody who works in this field and cares about this, i would very much request to look into this. this is not helping pakistan, this is not helping the field. and at least not to declare any
of these very reputable organizations as security issues. because i don't think that goes down well. let me open it up to the audience and take some questions. jay e-mailed me yesterday and said i must ask a question. so i will not forget you, jay. but let me start from the front and come back. yes, please. >> i'm from india, and currently a student at johns hopkins school of advanced international studies doing a dual concentration in international economics and conflict management. it is my opinion that a leader's role begins even before she or -- >> can we stick to questions? i want to get as many as we can. >> okay. before he or she starts the role of leadership. my question is if the two future leaders or prime ministers in pakistan are seated in this audience today, what concrete steps would you advise them to take from now until if and when they take office to resolve the
kashmir dispute once we reach that office to hit the ground running? what country? i'm looking for a step one, step two, step three. >> thank you. do you want to take more? >> we will take a few more questions. >> okay. right here, dana? >> thank you. it's dana marshal, transnational strategy group. welcome to washington, mr. ambassador. the peace dividend that pakistan might expect with respect to its near abroad, perhaps at some point with india, when and if things settle down and, of course, with the united states post afghan deal. >> let me give you a question from one of our guests. it reads, india alleged pakistan used f-16s for the missile that was fired. pakistan denies it. what end user agreements restrict pakistan from using an f-16? is the limitation that it cannot
use them against india? one more from the audience. yes, please. yes, wait for the microphone. because we are being covered live. thank you. >> so welcome, mr. ambassador. my name is nisar, and i work for global peace. you talked about the afghan issue, because i was born in afghanistan, i'm going to concentrate on that. for the past 18 years, pakistan was an ally with the united states and afghanistan was recognized as a government. but looking at the trend -- so over 3,000 american soldiers died. over 52,000 injured or disabled. >> question, please. >> yes. and over 100,000 killed in afghanistan and i'm probably wrong about the number. maybe it's a higher number. why do you think afghanistan as a country and united states as a country trust pakistan in the current trend, talking with the taliban and what is the rule of your country in this process? >> okay. >> okay.
first of all, i think the u.n. security council resolutions -- i just asked both leaders to go back and pull those resolutions that were adopted almost 70 years. and all of it is actually laid out in terms of how this issue needs to be dissolved. on the peace dividend, that -- th dana, you spoke about. i think as i actually said in my presentation, because we want to start looking inwards, there is huge potential in our bilateral relationship and through that in terms of exploring vital
economic possibilities in the region. and it is only after you are able to bring security in pakistan, peace in afghanistan. and peace in the vital region, even with india, that we will be able to actually explore and fully harness that peace dividend that you are alluding to. and there is -- he said in the beginning that, you know, pakistan is sandwiched between two huge economies and two huge countries. that also is our strength. we might come across as small when looked from new dehli or beijing. but pakistan is the fifth-most populist country in the world. so that way, you know, the potential and possibilities are unlimited, only if we are able to deal with this perpetual
conflict and tension in the region bilaterally as well as in the vital region. on f-16, i don't know. india has been alleging so many other things. so i really don't -- we don't get into every single one of them. and i am not aware of any request from the u.s. side about the f-16. >> i think the question is whether pakistan is prevented by the -- >> i have not seen those end user agreements. i am not in a position to comment on that. >> okay. one more. actually, two of the questions from our -- >> oh, sorry. my apology, yes. afghanistan -- could you please repeat your question? i didn't really quite get it. >> i have to be quick.
>> yes. >> pakistan is allied with the united states and the allied forces in afghanistan. the peace process started after 9/11. and since then, i can give you the number. over 3,000 american soldiers died or close, and over 50,000 got injured or disabled and they live here. and besides that, over 100,000, maybe i'm wrong with the number, probably the number is pretty much higher. afghan forces died in this process. and over probably 100,000 or maybe more civilians died in the country. and it all happened while pakistan was allied with afghanistan, with america, with allies in trying to bring peace in the region. so now that there is peace talk, are you guys incented or why do we trust that pakistan is honest in this process? >> so let me crystallize the question. because we have an identical question from the other room which is perhaps more pointed. but i think if i'm right, you mentioned the high price that
pakistan has paid for the conflict in afghanistan. don't you think that pakistan should also take responsibility for continuing to host some of the groups that have created problems in afghanistan. essentially, iran, afghanistan, india, pakistan's neighbors, constantly make claims about this, vis-a-vis pakistan. >> it's really -- not really a question, i mean, of pakistan taking responsibility. because if you -- we start talking about numbers, you know, we had lost 70,000 citizens in pakistan also in the war on terror. who would take responsibility for those losses that we have suffered? we have also suffered more than 3,000 people, and, of course, they were being funded by somebody. they were being financed by somebody. they were being trained by somebody. and this has been going on. and this unfortunate conflict. and that's why, as i said in the
beginning, you know, it's really for us -- it is an absolute imperative to see peace, and that's why we are making every effort that we can to facilitate peace. and we are happy that today u.s. and pakistan are on the same page, and, frankly, in october or in september, nobody could have imagined that the process would come this far in a matter of a few months. so -- and we are also actually basically -- we believe that, you know, there is no peace until all afghans are on board. and to that extent, you know, pakistan is -- whatever it can do is doing. and that perhaps is our way of making a contribution to a conflict that we want to see end sooner than later.
because after afghanistan, pakistan is the one that has suffered the most. so if we start speaking about responsibilities, then someone will have to take responsibility for whatever has happened in pakistan. i mean, we are a changed country. you know, i come from a generation which grew up in the '70s. we were a much different country. and we hosted the refugees. we imported the cash in glove culture. we had the narcotics and drugs, all of that. so somebody will have to take responsibility for that also. >> okay. let's go all the way back and then we will work our way. i'll come to you. >> thank you. thank you very much. sir, i just want you to know about the u.s. response during the tensions recently. because in a meeting with the u.s. media in pakistan, you said that the u.s. did not condemn
indian air strikes, and it is seen by the pakistani government as an endorsement of indian position. that is what emboldened them even more. can you explain this? thank you so much. >> yes. >> okay. >> sure. yes, please. >> hi. welcome, mr. ambassador. i'm an american citizen, indian origin. you mentioned about -- please correct me. i have a question that u.n. security council question that has been raised. but it is a three-step process. and please correct me if i misunderstand. the very first step of the u.n. security council was the pakistan -- b., india is going to put a limited amount of army there to follow peace control. and c., will be the referendum. so isn't the ball in pakistan's court of asking for u.n. security council to intervene,
at the same time not removing a condition from military -- from kashmir. >> okay. right behind, jake. >> thank you, ambassador. my question to you is that your predecessor, ambassador, hussein aghani, is quoted by saying this jihad and kashmir was rooted, carefully nurtured by the pakistani military. how do you respond to that, and in conjunction with that, why has the prime minister censured some of his ministers who have made inflammatory statements including minister khan, which have direct religious overtones targeted towards hindus? >> right here. take one more. >> okay. >> yeah, just this one. right here. i'll come to you. >> reuters reported pakistan has
somehow communicated to the u.s. government that probably there is an input on the afghanistan peace process which could have been impacted. so that's what they have reported. any kind of input on that very process? it could have been harmed or damaged or delayed in that perspective? and we are talking about pakistan and india, the current escalation on the borders. >> okay. first of all, i think what i said in the embassy was that when a country commits an act of blatant aggression, as was committed against pakistan, then the international community must come out clearly in condemning that act. and that lack of condemnation would then embolden the country, who is resorting to that
aggression. so that was the context in which what i said -- how it was reported. in terms of the u.s. role, yes, i think the u.s. has of late played an important role in restraint and using offices to deal with the situation. on the u.n. security council resolutions, i think that is a discussion and debate that we can have in terms of sequencing. and there is a lot of, you know, history. and there is a lot of context that is available in terms of who did what and who didn't do what and why we are there. but the bottom line is that this issue is a dispute that is still
pending resolution. and it is one of the oldest disputes before the u.n. security council resolution. so once the two leaders -- and i'll come back to the question -- decide to basically engage to resolve, then i'm sure we will be able to fix the nuances and differences in terms of who should have done what to resolve this issue. but first of all, we need to have the commitment to sit across sikh dialogue and then to engage to resolve the issue. in terms of my predecessor's comments, what can i say? because kashmir is an issue that has always been there, ever
since pakistan's existence. and to frame it as a jihad-only i think is a disservice to the sacrifices that the unarmed kashmirees are making, particularly over the last three years. and i think komeny perhaps is not following up on the repression that is unleashed in indian-occupied kashmir with just in the last three -- two years, 780 people have been killed. and there are scores who have been blinded. so i don't know how and where this can be justified, whether it is jihad or not. and i have not really heard master cue hanny speak about those atrocities that i think he
should also be speaking about. >> one more, i think. >> oh, yes. i always forget the last one. >> the afghanistan -- whether -- pakistan's role in afghanistan, did pakistan say we were affected if this crisis -- >> oh, yes. oh, yeah, yeah. sorry. you know, and that's why we maintain that pulvama could not have come at the worst time. we are consumed by our western border. there are 780 border posts that we man on our border with afghanistan. just to essentially deal with that allegation of passing into pakistan. unfortunately, on the afghan
side, the border posts just over 100. we have already erected a fence which is almost 900 kilometers on this 2,200 kilometers fenceable border. and so we are -- when there is escalation on the eastern border, i think it will certainly divert the attention of pakistan's attention, and these past two, three weeks, i have done nothing. and the other day when i was actually interacting with the media, there was only one question about afghanistan. so even the media's attention was diverted. and for us, we are dealing with a real-life security situation. so obviously once the peace and security environment aggravates, it will have impact on overall peace and stability in the region, and that would obviously affect all the processes that are going on. >> okay.
let's -- this has been a very male-dominated q & a session. so i want to make sure that we've got -- yeah, please. right there. >> just give us a word about pakistan/iran relations. >> yes. >> right here. and then i see a couple of hands. let me balance out. we'll come back. yeah, please. >> hi. caylee from the american pac. my question is just where do the human rights violations enforce extra judicial killings against sindees a sindees rank on authority. >> yes. back there. >> hi. alyssa, i'm a grad student from georgetown university. my question is particularly since the peace talks in
afghanistan seem to be excluding at least for now the government of afghanistan, what role would pakistan like to see the taliban play in the future of afghanistan, and how would that impact pakistan? >> okay. >> so one just right behind you, i believe. there was a question. yes. >> hi, my name is jennifer with bluemont. i was just curious. in terms of the ingos who registration applications were denied/rejected, might at some point in time there be consideration whether or not those ingos could reply for registration? >> i can answer that, having looked at that very closely. the answer is yes. [ laughter ] sorry. >> i would encourage you to take the other three also. [ laughter ] >> that's when i leave. >> pakistan/iran.
th this is centuries'-old relationship and an important relationship for pakistan. and we value this relationship. i think -- i don't know what specific aspect you want to hear about, but, yes, this is an important relationship for pakistan, as a member of -- fellow member of an oic, and an immediate and next door neighbor with deep historic ties, it's a very important relationship for pakistan. on the question of enforced disappearances, i think the -- whether it is the government's priority or not, it is the priority of our independent judiciary. and they have been following up on these cases, and there is
a -- you know -- and the media also, things get reported and then the government, whether in the provinces or at the federal level, has to act. so i really don't think that it is that big of a problem in pakistan, as sometimes, you know, media makes it look like. on the taliban's role in the future afghan government, i think it is not for us to basically determine what role they would play. but i can tell you that, as i said before also, that a comprehensive reconciliation is a reconciliation where all afghans are able to get to a point where they can agree on a
peaceful afghanistan, post reconciliation. on the -- i think you already responded to that. >> so let's take one final round of questions, and then we'll have to close it, because i know the ambassador has to leave. let's start from here and try and get as many as i can. if you can please make it short so that we can get as many as possible. >> yeah. my name is noros. she took my question, so i'm going to make another question. >> short. >> okay. it's been a long time. a religious militant organization. they have killed a community, activists and other minorities. they have pakistani military and
army. i have been there. >> question, please. >> yeah. so what is your role in this peace process with the u.s. and afghanistan, and negotiation with these organizations? thank you. >> yeah. >> connor dunwoody with the asian development bank. what does the future of utility and infrastructure investment and borrowing look like in pakistan? >> sorry? say it again? >> what does the future of utility and infrastructure investment, borrowing and development look like? >> this is where you need a panel and an economic counselor. >> yes. >> yes, the gentleman here and lady there and mohamed, that will be it. there you go. >> ambassador, what -- since you were recently ambassador to japan, what is the geopolitical role of japan going forward?
as to this conflict, but other conflicts in southeast asia? >> the gentleman and the lady in the back. yes. >> hi, i'm mohamed. i write for "the express tribune." thinking about the u.n., much more recent opportunity, which was last year, the human rights -- you know, commission in the u.n. asked for access on both sides of the border. pakistani and indian, kashmir. and unfortunately, although they did a sort of -- a way from the field site, they did a report, 80% of it was obviously about what's happening in india. but why can't pakistan seize on this opportunity and -- i mean, of course, there are issues on this side, et cetera. but use this opportunity and open up and allow the u.n. to come in and see what's going on
on this side of the border. >> yes, please. >> hi. i'm a retired foreign service officer. i really applaud the pakistan slogan. and i will look forward to the people realizing their dreams to pursue economic stability. my question is, if so many of the limited dollars get channelled to the military funding, how would that be realized? >> okay. i can get that. and let me just put the last one that i have in my hand from the overflow room. which is how would the dynamic between the prime ministers change post obama so you have a few. >> okay. okay. first of all, noros, your question. i think we have an elected
government in balochistan. we have all the institutions that you need to secure the implementation of the rights that are guaranteed to both the majority and minority communities in every province that covers belochistan and others. and the government of pakistan is determined to act against any of those outfits who are targeting any one or the other group. and if you look at how things have played out over the past year, i would say, the situation definitely has changed dramatically. so i don't know which particular
instances and incidents you are talking about. i am not aware of those. in terms of the utility part, i really don't quite get the -- perhaps my minister of trade will probably be able to answer that question, because i don't quite get that question. so maybe you can take it later on. in terms of japan's involvement, i can say that for pakistan, that is also an important relationship, and, in fact, japan has been one of the oldest investors in pakistan. and since japan is a country that essentially relies on open ceilings, both for its imports as well as exports, so it seeks to have partnerships in the wider region also.
so in that regard, and japan is also a country that is invested in peace, and japan has also historically played an important role in supporting development in afghanistan, as well. so there are different -- multiple reasons and multiple points of interest for japan to remain engaged in the region, and i am happy that during my time as ambassador to japan we witnessed a serious and positive spike in the relationship. in terms of the u.n., i am not aware of that particular initiative, but i can tell you that in pakistan, they are on our side. and we are open. we don't stop anybody. in fact, the embargo is on the
indian side. so if anyone wishes to come to our part of kashmir -- in fact, we also welcome the u.n. office of the high commissioner on human rights also to come and visit. so the problem really -- i mean, for us, we are open. we still are open. we will remain open. in terms of diverting military funding, that's the peace dividend that i think dana marshal was talking about. if you have a perpetual conflict situation, and if you have a perpetual war-like situation, you by force are supposed to divert your resources to defense. but frankly, going by what we have in the region, you know, our per capita defense is much less than our neighbor, which is eight times bigger than us with a huge outlay, is spending.
so we would like to see peace. that would certainly enable pakistan, and everyone else to divert resources. and that's why, you know, prime minister had actually said that our real enemy is poverty. and that's what we should be joining hands to fight together. and in terms of the chemistry, i don't know if there was any chemistry to begin with. but i think as leaders of two big countries, it is not the chemistry that should determine. it is the need, because both leaders have the responsibility of millions, i would say billions of people. and the prime minister has