Day 2 of the Three-Day International Conference on ‘’Significance of the Belt & Road Initiative in Regional Connectivity''

Press time:2022-07-08Number of views:10

Day 2 of the Three-Day International Conference on ‘’Significance of the Belt & Road Initiative in Regional Connectivity'' at the University of the Punjab, Lahore, jointly organized by Regional Integration Center, University of the Punjab, Lahore & Embassy of the People's Republic of China to Pakistan


7th July 2022


WORKING SESSION 1-A

SWOT Analysis Activity

Three-day International Conference (6th- 8th July 2022) on ‘’Significance of the Belt & Road Initiative in Regional Connectivity’’ at University of the Punjab, Lahore, jointly organized by Regional Integration Center, University of the Punjab, Lahore & Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Pakistan.

The conference will establish an extensive link between regional stakeholders and also enhance people-to-people contacts for the understanding of the significance of regional cooperation through BRI. It will also prove to be a great avenue to formulate a future road map under BRI for the legal framework. Panelists and experts from the Eurasian region, BRI partner countries and Pakistan have been participating in the conference.

The topic of first session was “Developing a mechanism for regional security amid a complex connectivity canvas. Stakeholder Analysis of Belt & Road Initiative: Challenges and Opportunities”. It was presided by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Department of Politics & IR, International Islamic University, Islamabad.The session was moderated by Dr. Mubeen Adnan, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore. She welcomed all the speakers for participating in the working session.  She introduced the theme of the topic and the speakers.

As theChair of the session, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Department of Politics & IR, International Islamic University, Islamabad addressed the session. Later Prof. Dr. Saleem Mazhar, Conference Patron & Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore distributed the certificates among the speakers.

The other speakers were as follows:

· Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Department of Politics & IR, International Islamic University, Islamabad.

· Dr. Qudsia Akram Assistant Professor, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore.

· Dr. Ashfaq Ahmed Assistant Professor, University of Sargodha.

· Dr. Sumaira Gul, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar.


WORKING SESSION 1-B

SWOT Analysis Activity

The topic of session was “Geostrategic and geopolitical environment within and beyond China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Beyond Belt & Road Initiative: Regional Connectivity in Focus”. It was presided by Brig Mansoor Saeed (Retd), Vice President (Punjab Region), CGSS.

The session was moderated by Dr. Gulshan Majeed, Associate Professor at Department of Political Science University of the Punjab Lahore. She welcomed all the speakers and hoped that their speeches will be helpful in defining the BRI project at the academic level. The speakers were of view that by joining BRI, the landlocked countries would become a part of global maritime network. As the Chair of the session, Brig Mansoor Saeed (Retd), Vice President (Punjab Region), CGSS addressed the audience and appreciated their efforts. Prof. Dr. Saleem Mazhar, Conference Patron & Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore distributed the certificates among the speakers.

The speakers of the session were as follows:

· Dr. Naheed S. Goraya Associate Professor, Center for South Asian Studies, University of the Punjab.

· Dr. Sehrish Qayyum Assistant Professor, Maritime Center of Excellence (MCE), Pakistan Navy War College, Lahore.

· Dr. Maryam Azam Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Lahore college for Women University, Lahore.

· Dr. Khushboo Ejaz Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore.

· Dr. Zarmina Baloch Assistant Professor, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar.


WORKING SESSION 1-C

Panel of Experts

The topic of the session was “Significance of the Belt & Road Initiative in Regional Connectivity”. It was presided by Prof. Dr. Iram Khalid Chairperson, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

The session was moderated by Dr. Muhammad Shareh Qazi, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab, Lahore. He introduced the theme of the working session. He emphasized the need to understand the new realities and dividends emerging from the BRI project. He explained that the world is moving from monopolar to bipolar world. We have to understand the urgency of interaction. It is high time to come out of isolation and join the world community.

After the speeches, a question-answer session was held in which the audience interacted with the academic experts. As the Chair of the session, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Khan, Department of Politics & IR, International Islamic University, Islamabad addressed the audience. At the end of the session, Prof. Dr. Saleem Mazhar, Conference Patron & Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore distributed the certificates among the speakers.

The other speakers of the conference were as follows:

· Ms. Lubna Bhayat Former President, Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI), Lahore & Founder and CEO, Shemeanswork.

· Mr. Rohail Ikram Chairman, Pakistan-Uzbekistan Trade & Culture Centre

· Mr. Hamayoun Khan Program Advisor at Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Pakistan.

· Dr. Ali Hamza Assistant Professor -TTS UVAS Business School, Lahore.

  

 WORKING SESSION 2

Policy Dialogue

A working session entitled “Impact of Belt & Road Initiative on Maritime Politics and Challenges to Maritime Security’’ was held on 7th July, 2022. It was moderated by Vice Admiral (Retd) Asaf Humayun HI (M), Former Vice Chief of Naval Staff. He admired the efforts of Regional Integration Center, University of the Punjab and other collaborative institutions. He explained the theme of the session while casting the light on prevailing challenges to Maritime Security. He also applauded the efforts of NIMA for creating a conducive atmosphere for Pakistan with special reference to BRI.

Dr. Huma Baqai, Rector Millennium Institute of Technology of Entrepreneurship (MITE) University joined the session online. She argued that if there is a threat of another cold war then there is no doubt that it would occur due to the clash of global powers on Sea. She discussed the Indian Ocean Region which connects four major continents such as Asia, Africa, Europe and America. She also explained the geo-strategic significance of Indian Ocean Region in the international affairs by stated that it is full of resources. As far as the Pakistan is concerned, she stated that it has the potential to turn all its dreams true through BRI.

Dr Safdar Sohail, Dean, National School of Public Policy illustrated some of the notable aspect of CPEC. He discussed the future plans of CPEC. He also identified some of the areas that would come under the domain of the project. He was of the argument that promoting tourism, creating job opportunities, improving the conditions of underdeveloped regions of the Pakistan and putting all resources on urban development are the major areas of focus.  

Dr. Bhagya Senaratne, Senior Faculty at Department of Strategic Studies, Sir Jhon Kotelawala Defense University (KDU), Sir Lanka talked about maritime integration and how this domain is going to offer new opportunities for the region. She discussed the concept of integration by linking it with maritime affairs. In addition, she mentioned the list of all those countries which directly come under the banner of CPEC. She identified the inseparable relationship between BRI and Maritime. Furthermore, she pointed out some of the challenges in the way of BRI that need to be considered on urgent basic.

Vice Admiral (R) Abdul Aleem HI(M), DG NIMA discussed the maritime components of CPEC and prospects for regional development. He referred to the fact that CPEC is all about energy, road, infrastructural development, connectivity and interdependence. He went on to said that CPEC is the gateway to South Asia, Indian Ocean Region and beyond. He also emphasizes on the maritime components of CPEC. Furthermore, he briefly mentioned the names of other corridor projects commenced by China.

Dr. Khuram Iqbal, Head of Department, International Relations, National Defense University, Islamabad discussed the role of regional and extra regional powers in the maritime affairs. He discussed why alliances are created and also referred to the major factors that lead to the making of alliances such as institutionalization, socialization, cultural similarity and shared ideology. Moreover, he suggested that we should put all our resources toward the maritime affairs.

Commodore (Retd) Baber Bilal, Director, IOSC discussed the need of Indian Ocean maritime networking for a shared future. He explained the traditional and non-traditional security challenges related to maritime security. He described the geo-strategic importance of IOR and proposed a model through which the issues related to maritime security can be effectively resolved.

The session was presided by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman, Senate’s Defense Committee. He shared his views upon the importance of CPEC for Pakistan. He tried to address all misconceptions regarding the arrival of Chinese in the form of CPEC. He was of the view that the Pakistani government should, as soon as possible, start addressing its domestic issues and put CPEC on a faster track.  

At the end of session, certificates and shields were given to the distinguished guest speakers.


WORKING SESSION 2

Policy Dialogue

The topic of the session was “Prioritizing policy options and strategic choices in addressing vulnerabilities in South Asia”.

The session began with the speech of Major General Hafiz Masroor Ahmed (Retd). He stated that every region or project might be vulnerable to many threats. Thus, there is a need to plan for the expected vulnerabilities. To solve the threats the most trusted way is the dialogue. The Covid-19 has taught us the lesson of cooperation and coordination. It is a blessing that BRI has integrated the regional countries.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, School of Politics & IR, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad briefed the audience on the vulnerabilities to South Asia. He explained the flash points faced by this region. He discussed challenges and opportunities of cooperation with in the region.

Prof. Dr. Adam Saud, Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad explained the threats faced by the South Asia. He stated that water scarcity, climate change, lack of energy resources, lack of sustainable agricultural policies remain some of the major vulnerabilities to this region. Droughts, melting of glaciers have forced populations to migrate. This problem needs solutions. He also suggested that women empowerment should be encouraged at state level. People-to-people connectivity also need priority at the government level.

Dr. Minhas Majeed Marwat, Department of International Relations, University of Peshawar stated that regional integration should be encompassing the whole region of South Asia. Economic policies have been previously made by the undemocratic governments in South Asia. This trend should be changed to accommodate the people views. Interstate tensions could also impede the smooth running of the CPEC and the BRI project. That could create problems for the interstate trade and commerce. She presented some solutions to these problems. She stated that people to people interaction and flow of ideas can remove these hurdles.

Prof. Dr. Azhar Ahmad, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Bahria University, Islamabad briefed about South Asia. He stated that as the South Asia is facing poverty, debt issues, insecurity and political instability, therefore, this region need economic empowerment and prosperity.

After the speeches, a question-answer session was held in which the audience interacted with the academic experts. The moderator Prof. Dr. Rana Eijaz Ahmad thanked the speakers for their participation. Later the participant speakers were presented certificates by Prof. Dr. Saleem Mazhar, Conference Patron & Vice Chancellor, University of the Punjab, Lahore.The session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Rana Eijaz Ahmad.

  

WORKING SESSION 3-B

Policy Dialogue

A working session entitled “Concept of Community with Shared Future and Dialogue of Civilization: It’s Potential Implementation among BRI Countries’’ was held. It was moderated by Ms. Maryam Raza, Deputy Director, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Futured. She sheds light upon the idea of regionalism along with the concept of community with shared future. She also talked about potential implementation of policies among BRI countries. Moreover, she emphasized on the need of civilizational dialogue to sow the seeds of sustainable regional peace and growth.

The speaker presented their profound analysis. Following were the speakers of the session.

· Dr. Maryam Kamal South Asian Study Center, University of the Punjab, Lahore

· Prof. Dr. Rehana Saeed Hashmi Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab

· Prof. Dr. Zarmina Baloch Assistant Professor, Shahid Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar

· Dr. Sumaira Gul, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University, Peshawar.

Reported by PRCCSF