Addressing scholars and researchers at the Woodrow Wilson think tank in Washington, Bilawal said such a “credible” and “doable” mechanism was a way forward to address concerns about militants crossing borders with impunity that has disrupted peace in the region and tensed relations between the two neighbours.
“Extremists and militants of any persuasion who seek to advance their security and foreign policy agendas are a threat to peace and security and must not be allowed a foothold anywhere,” he said.
The PPP chief stressed that the Haqqani network must be dismantled and disarmed, but this could only be done by concerted and coordinated action by both Pakistan and Afghanistan based on a credible and verifiable mechanism, and not by resorting to blame game, he pointed out.
Among a number of topics Bilawal spoke about were the state democracy and human rights, mysterious disappearances, forthcoming general elections in the country, reforms in tribal areas, need for economic revival, and fighting militancy in a holistic manner.
The use of religion as a weapon of war in Afghanistan and turning a blind eye to the emergence of non-state actors in the name of religion was a grave strategic mistake, he said.
Containing the consequences of disastrous policies of the past called for political will and sincerity of purpose which can come only by making a clean admission of the blunders made, Bilawal said.
About US President Donald Trump’s tweets, he said these generated heat instead of throwing light on serious foreign policy issues. Important foreign policy issues could not be addressed through tweets, he remarked.
The interactive session at the Woodrow Wilson institute was attended by former ambassadors, ex-State Department officers, researchers and scholars of peace and security issues in the South Asian region.
Party spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar and former senator Akbar Khwaja were also present.