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Pakistan, Uzbekistan partners in campaign against terrorism, says Mushahid

14 January, 2007

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Tashkent: Terrorism and extremism are threat to the region and Pakistan and Uzbekistan are partners against terrorism.

This was stated by Senator Mushahid Hussain during an address to the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies (ISIR), a think tank working directly under the auspices President Islam Karimov.

The Pakistan Parliamentary Delegation visited the think tank and Senator Mushahid Hussain briefed the academics and policy makers on Pakistan Uzbekistan relations, the regional security scenario and the issue of terrorism and extremism.

He began his address by thanking the Government of Uzbekistan for supporting Pakistan's entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as an observer. He said this would reinforce Pakistan's relations with Central Asia.

Referring to regional scenario, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that President Musharraf had initiated the process of normalization of relations with Indiawhich is proceeding on track and he hoped that this would lead to settlement of the core issue of Kashmir, in accordance with the aspiration of Kashmiri people.

On Afghanistan, he said that no country had sacrificed more and no country had a greater stake in Afghanistan's stability and unity than Pakistan given the fall out of Afghan events. He said that the fall out of Afghanistan was also evidenced in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Uzbekistan and he proposed that all the neighbours of Afghanistan should work together for peace in Afghanistan. He said that the blame game in Afghanistan should be avoided and the cause of the worsening of situation lay in developments within Afghanistan.

In this regard, Senator Mushahid Hussain cited the example of the production of opium in Afghanistan which had reached at record levels despite the presence of NATO forces there.

Dilating on the situation after 9/11, he said that the campaign against terror had lost its direction and it was becoming an un winnable war without end due to a number of reasons. These included the invasion of Iraq without settling Afghanistan, the inability of implementing the roadmap for Palestine and the perception among Muslims that the anti-terror campaign was directed against people of their own faith.

Senator Mushahid Hussain, who is also Chairman of the Board of Governors of Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), appreciated the agreement between the ISIR and IPRI in October 2006 for building cooperative research relationship. In this regard, he made three proposals:

There should be an annual dialogue between the two think tanks of Pakistan and Uzbekistan on regional security issues, at Tashkent and Islamabad each year respectively.

Exchange of two researchers each between Pakistan and Uzbekistan for research studies.

There should be joint research initiative between both these think tanks on the possibilities and potential of transport corridors of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

All these proposals were accepted by Uzbekistan think tank.

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