Journal

On World Order and Asian Times

H.E. Mr. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Former Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
I congratulate Chinese Chairmanship of CICA for implementing the idea of President Xi Jinping for CICA Non-Governmental Forum. China has initiated this noble venture which would surely help the people of Asia to establish effective networks for addressing the issues of peace, security and development in the whole continent.
 
The post-war international order has been in place for seventy years. However, the challenges of statesmanship faced by the present leaders have not changed. Only the nature of challenges has changed. Post war international order can be safeguarded with not only a deeper understanding of the emerging threats but also devising a collective strategy.
 
CICA has already affirmed the core principles of the United Nations Charter like sovereign equality and territorial integrity of States, respect for the right of self-determination of peoples under occupation and colonial domination, settlement of disputes through peaceful means like negotiation, intermediation, and mutually beneficial cooperation. In the post-war order, sticking to these principles of UN charter can ensure the Asian security.
 
At this juncture the world is undergoing transformation. Focus is shifting towards the East. The future belongs to Asia and we are living in Asian era. While Asia is on a positive trajectory to make the 21st century as an Asian century, there is a need to identify and address the challenges faced by polities and economies of Asia today. These challenges include long standing political and territorial disputes. Moreover, there are new threats and challenges like terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, and negative consequences of climate change. No country can counter these new threats alone. These shared challenges can only be resolved by pooling energies of not only governments of Asia but also civil society and people of the continent also.
 
The comprehensive idea of Asian security covers not only political and military aspects but also economic and socio-cultural aspects of relations among both Asian States and Asian people in general. Pakistani people and governments have been supporting and will continue to support this comprehensive concept of Asian security. CICA documents like Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Member States and the Almaty Act already underline the comprehensive idea of security. We are hopeful that in the light of the same principles, the CICA Non-governmental Forum would emerge as a robust and strong institution in coming years.  
 
The comprehensive security supported by people and governments of Asia would be based on equality, addressing legitimate security concerns of all and enhancement of cooperation, mutual trust, and confidence building measures. In addition to governments, civil society, academia, political parties and journalist community of Asia can positively contribute to confidence building measures aimed at resolution of disputes through peaceful means. In this context, I pin hopes with the CICA Non-Governmental Forum to help all Asians to achieve the objectives of collective security.
 
Terrorism continues to be one of the most serious security threat faced by the world today. As a victim of terrorism, Pakistan has rendered tremendous sacrifices in the fight against terrorism. We have suffered enormous losses both in human lives and material. We even lost our most charismatic and popular leader, former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to a terrorist's bullet. Recently, a terrorist attack in Peshawar school has united the nation and strengthened its resolve to root out terrorism from our territory and the region at large. Pakistanis are determined to pursue the terrorists till the elimination of the last terrorist. More than 50,000 innocent people have lost their lives. Economic losses are to the tune of 100 billion dollars. You can imagine the magnitude of sacrifices that Pakistan has already made. Despite these challenges, Pakistani nation stands resolute. Both the past and the present leadership are determined to eradicate terrorism. Pakistan has fought the war on terror with unshakeable resolve during last 13 years.
 
This fight is ongoing. We are fighting for the future generations of not only Pakistan but of the whole world. We have to defeat extremism and together we shall prevail. There is no other choice for us. Countering this menace is in the interest of all nations. All members of CICA need to pursue a cooperative approach against the threat of terrorism. The intelligence-sharing, cooperation in law enforcement and mutual legal assistance at governmental level and the establishment of people to people networks at non-governmental level would help to counter terrorism effectively. We need to address root causes that are exploited by the terrorists to radicalize the youth. These include economic deprivations, political injustices, foreign occupation and denial of fundamental rights including the right to self-determination. The inter-faith dialogue and framework of cooperation among peoples of various communities, countries and regions would also help to create resilience among communities against terrorism.
 
Pakistani people want a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighborhood. This objective can be achieved through economic cooperation and peaceful resolution of issues. We have reached out to our neighbors with a sincere desire to promote long-term peace, development and stability in the region. We are engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with India in a purposeful and forward looking manner to find peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. We hope that the dialogue would resume soon.
 
Pakistan and Afghanistan are brotherly neighboring countries. Destinies and potentials of both countries are linked with each other. We both have shared negative consequences of prolonged conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistani people are fully committed to promoting durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have and will continue to do all we can to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process in Afghanistan. Pakistan is already hosting millions of Afghan refugees for the last three decades.
 
Undoubtedly, Asia has a central position in today’s shifting global economic and political environment. It has become the most dynamic region in the world. Today Asia is seen as an engine of the global economic growth and Asian capital is sought after by the global financial markets. Asian economies are much more stable and diversified. However, poverty remains one of the biggest challenges facing Asia. With 4.5 billion people residing in this region, sustainable development is yet to be achieved.
 
The Asian security order reflects changing political and economic realities. It is therefore imperative that Asian countries emerge as an economic block. And with mutual cooperation in social sector and economic development, I am confident that all countries in the region can benefit. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is a step in the right direction.
 
The growing economy of Asia has brought about increased financial and trade interdependence among regional countries. During my term in office as the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I was a strong advocate of “ASEAN economic zone”. By boosting trade and investment, we can all flourish economically. I also propose that the countries in the region should promote cooperation in social development sector through creation of Asian Social Development Network. This network can help in developing a Framework for socially and economically prosperous Asia. It can help in exchanging best practices in poverty reduction.
 
An “Asian Order” is in progress. Asian Order backed by the political and economic dynamics of Asia is the need of the time. It can safeguard post war international order and Asian security. Asia has a long history of linkages with rest of the world. However, the contribution of the Asian knowledge and experiences in the formation of the modern world has not been given its due importance until recently. The rise of Asia is frequently viewed as a challenge to the existing world order. Such an isolated view overlooks the important role that Asia has played in the global order. Ascend of Asia is a reality and it promises to test the established global order in the coming times. It has the potential to adjust the existing international order. China is poised to take a pro-active leadership role in peaceful global development.
 
The social, economic, political and cultural diversity that CICA members bring to this Non-Governmental Forum offers great opportunities for cooperation. Many CICA member states are richly endowed with natural resources. Others, like Pakistan, can facilitate trade and communications and provide access to markets. Pakistan's strategic location offers it an opportunity to act as an energy and trade corridor linking Central Asia, South Asia and West Asia. Initiatives such as “One Belt One Road” are steps in the positive direction. We have completed work on a deep sea port at Gwadar and intend to develop it as a trans-shipment port. At the same time we have improved road and rail transportation networks to complement air links with these three vital regions.
 
To conclude, in the contemporary global landscape, peace, security and development are more intrinsically linked than ever before. An environment of peace and security is indispensable for human growth and development. People of Asia have a special role to play by establishing networks across communities and borders to build the Asian century on sustainable basis of peace and development.

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