LONDON: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary, who is in London to attend the CHOGM 2018, held a meeting with British Home Secretary Amber Rudd MP at the House of Commons on Tuesday evening and discussed various issues of mutual interest.
He was accompanied by Pakistan High commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas. Ahsan Iqbal briefed Secretary Rudd about Pakistan’s successful fight against terrorism and the sacrifices rendered to eliminate the menace. The way forward, he stressed, was to engage the community with a view to generating community ownership of the counter terrorism efforts, augmented by law enforcement agencies and security forces. Underscoring that the UK considers Pakistan an important partner in all areas, and mentioning her visit to Pakistan last year, Amber Rudd expressed her desire to further enhance cooperation between the two countries.
Both sides agreed to continue their ongoing security cooperation noting that there was tremendous potential for further expansion, especially in terms of capacity building and technological up-gradation. They acknowledged the growing menace of drugs, its linkages with terrorist financing, and resolved to share experiences and explore avenues for further cooperation in this area. Ahsan Iqbal especially mentioned the Kashmir issue and said that human rights abuses in this part of world are beyond imagine. “Murders, tortures and rapes are unfortunate matter of routine and being used as an instrument of war”, he said asking her that Britain should exercise its influence and help resolve this core issue”.
Meeting with Devane Minister for Interior, and Planning, Development & Reform, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary also met Sir Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive British Council at the British Council Office on Wednesday. Appreciating the support extended by the British Council to higher education in Pakistan as a strong partner, Minister Iqbal conveyed his desire to initiate a similar program Pakistan UK Knowledge Gateway with the UK, along the lines of US Pakistan Knowledge Corridor, through which the HEC will send 1000 PhD Scholars every year to the US with the Government providing living/ accommodation expenses while local universities covering costs related to tuition fees.
Minister Iqbal apprised the Chief Executive about his plans to build a state of the art Teacher Training Institute in Islamabad to ensure standardised skill set and capacity building for teachers.
He sought the Council’s technical assistance in design and setting up of the Institute. He also sought cooperation of British Council to provide technical assistance to Pakistan to set up Pakistan Academy of Social Sciences.
Sir Devane assured support and follow up on all issues raised by Minister Iqbal. He further stated the British Council was also contributing to Social Enterprise by providing young people with pathways to a positive and productive life and career.
CVE panel discussion Federal Minister for Interior Mr. Ahsan Iqbal addressed a Panel Discussion on Countering Violent Extremism(CVE) at the Foreign& Commonwealth Office in London, on the side-lines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018.
Besides Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon,(UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth, and Minister Iqbal, other speakers included the Kenyan Head of National Counter Terrorism Centre, Amb. Dr. Martin Kimani; the Nigerian Coordinator Counter Terrorism Centre, Rear Admiral Yaminu Musa; the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Hon. Stuart Richard Young MP; and Mr. Mark Albon, the Head of the CVE Unit in the Commonwealth Secretary General’s Office.
The audience included young representatives from different forums. The proceedings included the introduction of the Commonwealth P/CVE Programme to Member Countries, the announcement of the CVE Cadre of Experts, and statements/ presentations on UK’s approach to CVE as well as successes achieved by Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, and Trinidad &Tobago in addressing violent extremism, followed by an interactive Q & A Session from the audience.
While affirming Pakistan’s support for the cause, Minister Iqbal observed that at a time when global challenges like climate change, terrorism & extremism, and inequalities were staring us in the face in an ever-connected world, global politics had become fractured and dysfunctional, and that there was a need for collaborative and accommodative efforts, rather than finger pointing.
He stressed that any effective policy to counter violent extremism would require a comprehensive approach based on an objective and considerate understanding of both internal and external root causes of the rising extremism in the world, including unresolved international disputes, negative and stereotyping media campaigns against communities, religions and nations. At the end, he reiterated that Pakistan had already geared up for a grand strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism to defeat forces of hatred and violence.
The founder of nation, Mr Jinnah gave us a clear vision for an inclusive and harmonious society. We want to give our next generation peace and stability for economic development. Pakistan would be happy to share its experiences of success as well as learn from others. In the Q &A Session that followed, the participants of the event showed a great understanding and appreciation of Pakistan’s efforts and sacrifices in its successful fight against terrorism & extremism.