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Pakistan-China Institute hosts dialogue on 'Outlook of Security Situation in South Asia in 2024'

Iran crisis resolution is a model of crisis management. Non-state actors pose a threat to regional security. National security is now linked to regional geopolitics, according to Mushahid Hussian Sayed

02:20 PM | 21 Jan, 2024
Pakistan-China Institute hosts dialogue on 'Outlook of Security Situation in South Asia in 2024'

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan-China Institute organized a dialogue on "Outlook of Security Situation in South Asia in 2024" under the Friends of Silk Road (FOSR) Initiative. The event happened simultaneously at two venues, Islamabad and Quetta Press Club.

The dialogue included speeches from prominent personalities including Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Senate Defense Committee Defense & Pakistan-China Institute; Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir; Lt. General (r) Muhammad Afzal, Former Chairman NDMA & DG FWO; Amir Rana, Director, Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS); Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director-General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI); Ambassador (r) Masood Khalid, Former Ambassador to China; Sultan M Hali, Security Analyst; Shahzada Zulfiqar, former President, PFUJ, and Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director, Pakistan China Institute. Former Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, chaired the dialogue.

In his opening speech, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed emphasized the importance of the current scenario, which is full of turbulence and transformation. He analyzed China's Global Security Initiative (GSI) as a new framework for the peaceful resolution of security issues. GSI focuses on security being indivisible, based on respect for states' sovereignty and territorial integrity. It also aims to promote a security governance framework, including AI, cybersecurity, and related security threats based on accepted international norms of behaviour enshrined in the UN Charter and international law. He strongly condemned the ongoing Genocide and Crimes against Humanity in Palestine by Israel. 

Senator Mushahid Hussain discussed three new realities regarding security issues: the shattering of the Middle East status quo after October 7, serious challenges posed by non-state actors, and the complex security situation between Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which is now inextricably intertwined with regional geopolitics, necessitating dialogue and diplomacy. Senator Mushahid Hussain termed the swift and smooth resolution of the Iran crisis as a 'model of crisis management and crisis resolution', adding that the two crises, Pulwama 2019 (with India) & Panjgur 2024 (with Iran), had helped Pakistan establish specific 'regional rules of behaviour based on our red lines in our troubled neighbourhood'.

He said, ‘Iran is not India, but a brotherly Muslim neighbour with which Pakistan has no fundamental conflict of interest’. In this regard, Senator Mushahid Hussain especially praised the Pakistani leadership for their deft handling of the Iran crisis, maintaining a mature, measured, relaxed, and calm approach while avoiding jingoism. 

In his speech, Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir emphasized the urgent need to address the economic challenges facing Balochistan. Senator Qadir stressed the importance of responsible resource management and equitable development by highlighting the province's high poverty rate, unemployment, and wealth disparity despite rich resources. He underscored the transformative potential of Gwadar Port, citing Chinese investments in infrastructure that have already fueled economic growth, job creation, and increased trade. He cited tourism as a factor in development and growth.

Lt. General (r) Muhammad Afzal, Former Chairman NDMA & DG FWO, delivered a PowerPoint presentation on "Western Route-CPEC opportunities for development and stability." The exhibition explored the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and areas of interest for both nations. The analysis highlighted achievements in road infrastructure and power generation under CPEC. Still, it emphasised the need for prioritising rail, addressing immediate concerns in water storage and IT infrastructure, and the role of the private sector.

Muhammad Amir Rana, Director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), underscored the pivotal role Baluchistan plays in the country's economic development, given its strategic location on classical routes connecting Asia, East Asia, and Central Asia. In addressing the global North-South divide mirrored in Pakistan, Rana attributes it to inherited administrative systems from the British colonial era. Rana emphasised the shared objective of redressing past wrongs and upholding the rights of the local communities in Balochistan, advocating for a focused resolution to address long-standing demands. He regretted that ‘no attempt at reform’ had been made by Pakistan, especially in neglected areas like Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

In his address, Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI), emphasized the paramount importance of Pakistan's unwavering relationship with China ‘since China is a trusted friend’. Shedding light on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC, which he underscored ‘addressed key deficits in development and energy’. Ambassador Mahmood also highlighted that President Xi Jinping’s GSI was ‘an alternative paradigm promoting peacebuilding in a world becoming more dangerous’.

Ambassador (r) Masood Khalid, former Ambassador to China, highlighted CPEC’s transformative journey for Pakistan. Reflecting on the challenging security situation in 2013 that deterred all foreign investors, he underscored China's groundbreaking investment through the CPEC as it was then the only country willing to invest in China. Ambassador Khalid's remarks shed light on how China's commitment has defied scepticism, reshaping Pakistan's economic landscape and fostering a new era of collaboration.

Sultan M Hali, renowned Security Analyst and author of seven books on China dispelled various conspiracy theories surrounding China, the Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC. He referred to a 1976 survey of Balochistan's mineral and natural resources, which could be useful in mining and exploration. Emphasizing that CPEC is a guarantor of Pakistan's prosperity, Hali highlighted the nation's capability to diligently undertake necessary preparations and leverage opportunities within the framework of CPEC.

Speeches by journalists from the Quetta Press Club highlighted the critical role of the media in shaping public perceptions of the security situation in Balochistan.  Shahzada Zulfikar, former President of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Nurul Haq Bugti and Daniyal Butt, urged the government to pay special attention to the ordinary people of Balochistan, especially the youth’, ‘hold fair and free elections in Balochistan’, and instead of ‘slogans and promises, government should eliminate bad governance and corrupt practices’ so that a conducive environment be created for successful development of CPEC. 

In his closing remarks, Mustafa Hyder Sayed, Executive Director of the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI), expressed gratitude to all speakers. Emphasizing the significance of 2024, especially for Pakistan and CPEC, Mustafa Sayed stressed the need for constructive discussions to improve CPEC outcomes. He announced the forthcoming release of a report by PCI, based on the Seminar, providing insight into the needs of Balochistan's stakeholders, especially the people of the province, and proposing a way forward in the context of security challenges which would serve as helpful input for policymakers.

Around 100 participants, consisting of media, civil society, parliament, and academia, participated in the dialogue. The dialogue also featured a candid and insightful questions and answers session.

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 24 April 2024 Forex Rates

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US Dollar and other currencies on April 22, 2024 Monday in open market.

USD to PKR rate today

US dollar was being quoted at 277.4 for buying and 280.4 for selling.

Euro comes down to 293.2 for buying and 296.2 for selling while British Pound hovers at 339.5 for buying, and 343 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75 and Saudi Riyal's new rate was at 73.25. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 24 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.4 280.4
Euro EUR 293.2 296.2
UK Pound Sterling GBP 339.5 343
U.A.E Dirham AED 75 75.8
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.25 73.95
Australian Dollar AUD 181 182.8
Bahrain Dinar BHD 740.55 748.55
Canadian Dollar CAD 201 203
China Yuan CNY 38.47 38.87
Danish Krone DKK 39.78 40.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.53 35.88
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.11 912.11
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.08 58.68
New Zealand Dollar NZD 164.22 166.22
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.61 25.91
Omani Riyal OMR 723.2 731.2
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.45 77.15
Singapore Dollar SGD 204.5 206.5
Swedish Korona SEK 25.31 25.61
Swiss Franc CHF 305.47 307.97
Thai Bhat THB 7.56 7.71

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