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Muhammad Athar Javed

Director-General of Pakistan House

On June 4 to 8, Saint-Petersburg State University was the venue for an educational program organized by the Gorchakov Fund. The discussions were revolving around the dialog between Russia and the nations of South Asia, the so-called “Asian Dialog.” The Russian Council talked to a number of prominent speakers at the event and now publishes the interviews.

In one of the conversations, RIAC reached out to Muhammad Athar Javed, Director-General of Pakistan House, an international think tank with an interest in regional and internation security issues. Mr. Athar Javed shared his understanding of Pakistan’s and Russia’s common interests in South Asia, elaborating on the possible modalities of cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the SCO.

On June 4 to 8, Saint-Petersburg State University was the venue for an educational program organized by the Gorchakov Fund. The discussions were revolving around the dialog between Russia and the nations of South Asia, the so-called “Asian Dialog.” The Russian Council talked to a number of prominent speakers at the event and now publishes the interviews.

In one of the conversations, RIAC reached out to Muhammad Athar Javed, Director-General of Pakistan House, an international think tank with an interest in regional and internation security issues. Mr. Athar Javed shared his understanding of Pakistan’s and Russia’s common interests in South Asia, elaborating on the possible modalities of cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the SCO.

— Mister Mohammad Athar Javed, could you please elaborate on three strategic spheres of Russian–Pakistani cooperation?

— Number one is energy. Number two is people-to-people contacts. Military cooperation comes third.

— What are the crossing points of Russian and Pakistani positions towards peace settlement in Afghanistan? Where do we coincide?

— I think there are two major areas where Pakistanis and Russians coincide. Both Pakistan and Russia are willing to stamp out, or eliminate, all the terrorist infrastructure in Afghanistan, especially DAESH, which literally disrupt peace efforts of both countries. And the second one, I think, is that Pakistan and Russia want [to facilitate] Afghanistan’s own peace solution. Both countries do not want the United States or any other leading country to impose their solution on Afghanistan. Both countries understand that it is Afghanistan’s responsibility to include all ethnic oppositions and ensure a balanced representation in Afghanistan. Therefore, there are two major avenues of cooperation, where Pakistan and Russia can play a very big role. And they are doing so already, as they have mechanisms on the counterterrorism, and they share information between each other.

— Let’s talk about the role of Shanghai Cooperation Organization in promoting constructive agenda in South Asia. How do you assess Russia’s role in this institution?

— Well, I would say we appreciate Russia’s role in cultivating Pakistan’s membership in the SCO and understanding that Pakistan has an important geostrategic position. Pakistan’s role is very important in terms of stability, but it also creates more political space and leverage for Russia in Asia. As we all know, the Russian–Indian relations are an important factor, but we would also like Russians to help Pakistani in the SCO. Pakistan also needs some trade partners, economic stability, FDIs. I think Pakistan could play a bigger role if it becomes more economically oriented and secure partner. With economics at the center. And then everything would revolve around it. I think Pakistan’s influence in the SCO needs to be enhanced. And we consider that Russia and China can play a bigger role in bringing Pakistan further up on the ladder.

— Do you think this is possible in the years to come?

— It is possible. Even the fact that if we look at the development in the outer space of the SCO, the SCO is being competed by many other organizations in the world, military alliances: QUAD, NATO, the EU as it is reforming. Bilateralism is improving, and India is also signing many-many bilateral treaties, they have relations with Northern countries: Sweden, Denmark, Finland.

It has to be understood that members of the SCO also have the outside. Pakistan, on the other hand, is getting in a position where it needs other major countries in the SCO to become more important, tangible partners. It is possible. But, of course, it requires the “big members” to come in and help. To support that Pakistan requires. A strong and stable Pakistan needs support and favor of Russia in the region.


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