TRILATERAL SUMMER SCHOOL
on Security, Stability and Trade
38 young professionals from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Germany met in Islamabad to attend a Trilateral Summer School organized by the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation. From June 12 to 19, the participants discussed regional challenges and especially focused on the three important topics security, stability and trade in the region.
Patron of the Trilateral Summer School was the German Ambassador Dr. Michael Koch who emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration in order to jointly solve common problems during a speech.
The participants belong to various sectors like politics, media, science and economy. They attended a number of lectures delivered by highly renowned experts and policy practitioners, including former Senators and Ambassadors, top government officials, renowned academics and representatives from the civil society. Among the speakers were the former First Deputy Speaker of the Senate Sayed Hamed Gailani from Afghanistan, Ambassador (r) Dr. Gunter Mulack and Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Loewenstein from Germany as well as the former Prime Minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary from Pakistan. The sessions were moderated by the Dean of the Trilateral Summer School Dr. Ross Masood Husain, founder and first Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.
The Trilateral Summer School included a socio-political trip to Lahore. There the participants attended the Wagah Border Ceremony and visited the historical landmarks of the city.
Back in Islamabad, the Trilateral Summer School ended on Saturday with a scenario mapping workshop which was conducted by Ambassador (r) Dr. Gunter Mulack. The participants were divided in three groups, each group was asked to predict the future and construct a scenario for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the year 2015. The participants came up with a worst case, a best case and a trend scenario. “This Summer School was a great success in achieving a serious and in-depth discussion of the actual situation and the prospects for the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan”, said Ambassador (r) Dr. Gunter Mulack after the workshop. “The interesting scenario mapping for future developments was a remarkable and successful new way of assessing the possible situation in 2015 for both countries”, he concluded.
Wrapping up the results of the seven day gathering in the closing session, Dean Ross Masood Husain stressed: “It is the general sense of the Summer School that, despite several difficulties, the future is not without hope. It is the youth in Afghanistan and Pakistan that are best fitted to restore the balance in the relationship of both countries – in particular the young professionals of the kind this Summer School has involved. The youth are the leaders of tomorrow.”
The purpose of the Trilateral Summer School was to bring together representatives of the young generation of the three countries. “The Trilateral Summer School provided a unique chance for the participants to set-up a trilateral network of friendship, trust and cooperation,” said Dr. Babak Khalatbari, Resident Representative of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. He stressed the importance of cementing the friendly relations between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Germany in order to consolidate the stability of the region.
In the following the project is wrapped-up:
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The German participants of the Summer School arrived early in the morning. They were received at the Benazir Bhutto Airport by members of the KAS team and were immediately transferred to the Marriott Hotel Islamabad. After checking in, they took the opportunity to get some rest. The first item on their program was a socio-political sightseeing tour of Pakistan’s Capital Islamabad starting at 14:30 hrs. This sightseeing tour was especially designed for the German participants, most of whom visited Pakistan fort he first time. They had the chance to drive along the highly secured Constitution Avenue, the government quarter of Pakistan which encounters the Parliament, the Presidential Palace, the Prime Minister’s House, the Supreme Court and several Ministries. Moreover, they visited the Faisal Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world, being conceived as the National Mosque of Pakistan. The participants were also taken to the Red Mosque. Members of the KAS team who are familiar with the city and its history acted as tour guides. Moreover, the participants were provided a handout containing comprehensive information on the history of Islamabad.
In the late afternoon, the participants from Afghanistan arrived at the Benazir Bhutto Airport with a UNHAS flight. They were received by members of the KAS team and transferred to the Marriott Hotel Islamabad, too.
At 19:00 hrs, the Ice-Breaking and Welcome Dinner at KAS office premises started. All speakers and participants of the Trilateral Summer School were invited along with some selected special guests. Guest of Honor was the Patron of the Summer School, Ambassador Dr. Michael Koch who was accompanied by his wife. As intended, the participants extensively used the evening to get acquainted. The dinner ended around 23:00 hrs.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Monday morning started-off with welcome remarks by Dr. Babak Khalatbari, Resident Representative of KAS to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He gave a short introduction to the Trilateral Summer School and stressed its aim to bring the youth together in order to enhance stability in the region. Dr. Ross Masood Husain, the Summer School's dean, then gave the official kick-off. He expressed his hopes that the bonds between the nations, represented by the young experts, shall be strengthened. He stated his belief that the youth may lead to a brighter future.
The first session was followed by a short round of introduction, in which the participants introduced themselves. As the participants had received a comprehensive booklet containing biographies, personal introductions, photos and contact data, this session was kept short.
After the round of introductions, Dr. Ross Masood Husain introduced the first speaker, General (rtd) Ehsan ul-Haq, former Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Army. His topic was “The Regional Challenge: Terrorism and Political Extremism”.
General ul-Haq first gave an assessment of the situation in Pakistan. In his opinion terrorism is rooted from India and Afghanistan and should therefore correctly be referred to as “trans-border terrorism”.
He then described the rise and the development of terrorism in South Asia: During the colonial era, the British implemented an anti-Muslim policy in order to weaken the former rulers of India. In the course of the secession they de-placed millions of Hindus and Muslims and generated the Kashmir conflict, thus pre-arranging a permanent dispute. He declared the war of 1971/72 against the former East Pakistan which was strongly supported by India to be the first case of state-sponsored terrorism. Thus, the new phenomenon arouse in the whole of Southern Asia. He then focused on Afghanistan which obviously was a source of terrorism during the Russian occupation (“Kalashnikov-culture”). When the Russians and shortly after the Americans lost their interest in Afghanistan in 1989, the vacuum of power was quickly filled by the Taliban. They brutalized the society which affected Pakistan, too. In 2001 terrorism was raised to a new level, when Pakistan was, once again, instrumentalized by the superpower, the United States; this time to fight Al'Qaeda in Afghanistan. He strongly underlined that the problems in Pakistan, especially those along the border, are the effect of the terrorism in Afghanistan – not the other way around, as was often falsely suggested. He then concentrated on the present situation and listed a couple of severe issues in Pakistan such as the inapt judicial system, inter-regional disharmonies as well as socio-economic injustice, all nurturing terrorism. He stated that the most important issue was the lack and neglect of education over the past decades. Another focus was laid on the issue of open borders to Afghanistan which allowed “the bad people” to move freely about. Since nobody was profiting of these open borders, he suggested regulating them more attentively.
The General's view met with several questions and statements from the audience. The Afghan participants remarked on the opportunities missed by the Pakistani military in the past to survey Madrassas as well as well known terrorists. In answer to the question about the future role of the military in Pakistan, the General said that the military should always be subordinate to civil and political authority as laid down in the constitution.
General (rtd) Ehsan ul-Haq presented the views of the military establishment of Pakistan, which is tightly focused on the tense relationship with India. After a lunch break of 90 minutes, Dr. Khalatbari introduced the second speaker, Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein from the Ruhr-University Bochum. His lecture on “Drug Trafficking and Its Regional Impact” focused on the Afghan National Drug Control System.
Prof. Löwenstein started off by explaining what means an effective drug control system would require. By contrasting the ideal to the existing system in Afghanistan he made clear the vagueness and lack of explicit action of the latter. Only against the basis of the opium trade a few required actions have been taken.
He then elaborated on his theory that anti-drug trade campaigns – when not fiercely implemented – will inevitably lead to an increase of drug production. He stated that drug production, being thrice as lucrative as wheat production, raises the standard of living for the farmers, thus giving a strong incentive for drug production on a micro-financial basis. Consequently, the implementation of drug production bans would lead to strong resentment within the population. Eventually and effectively drugs can only be battled on the demand-side. He then showed some data of the official GDP of Afghanistan and what it is spent for by the population. The extremely high deficit between the GDP and the spending can reasonably only be explained by an enormous amount of illegal, unregistered illegal trade, supposedly with drugs. This suggests a sum of up to some 4 billion US-Dollars, making up app. 35% of the countries GDP.
Afterwards, the presentation was vividly discussed by the audience. Especially the question whether there is a connection between corruption and bad governance on the one side and drug trafficking and instability on the other divided the audience. The Afghan participants were interested in Prof. Löwenstein's opinion on the involvement of NATO soldiers and NATO countries in the drug trading.
After a short tea break, Dr. Babak Khalatbari introduced the last speaker for the day, Senator (rtd) Sayed Hamid Gailani, Former First Deputy Speaker of the Afghan Senate (Meshrano Jirga) whose name is well known from recent Afghan history. He was to speak about “Afpakistan 2014: The Post Withdrawal Scenario”.
Senator Gailani divided his speech into two parts. In the first part, he named the focal points which have to be tackled until 2014. Firstly, it was vital that the Afghan National Army as well as the police force were build up to ensure security even after the NATO troops have left. Secondly, the governance has to be improved. Especially the corruption has to be diminished. Senator Gailani pointed out that corruption is not only a problem of Afghanistan, but that officials all over the world profit from the money flow in Afghanistan. Therefore, corruption can be handled only in cooperation with the international community. Thirdly, the economical reconstruction of the country has to be brought forward. And lastly, the trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan has to be removed. The Senator made quite clear that international help is welcome and required, but that the solution lies within the region.
He then succeeded with his second part, stating his expectations for the time after 2014. He said that 2014 will not be the end. International assistance in money and technology will further be required.
Several questions from the Pakistani side dealt with the role of China and especially India in Pakistan. The Senator said that any international help was welcome but no side would be privileged, therefore there was no reason to worry. He highlighted the importance of Pakistan for Afghanistan by calling it “half the body of Afghanistan”.
Dr. Khalatbari closed the first day of the Summer School by thanking all those who had contributed and promised more exciting lectures and discussions.
In the evening, the participants were taken to a village at the outskirts of Islamabad for a dinner at the Polo Lounge restaurant.
Tuesday, June 13, 2011
Tuesday began with a welcome and wrap-up of Monday's program by the dean. He then introduced the first speaker, Mr. Himayat Ulla Khan, a long serving civil servant and currently Senior Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan. He spoke about the topic „Bilateral and Transit Trade – Prospects and Challenges“.
Mr. Khan started off by showing a big map of South Asia and explaining the strategically and commercially valuable „crossroad“ position of Pakistan which is bridging the middle East with India as well as China. He than gave a general overview of the trade within South Asia. He presented existing regional trade agreements as well as existing trade routes from and through Pakistan. However, at the same time he made clear that the volume of intra-South Asian trade is only very limited. Especially the trade with Central Asian countries is close to non-existent. In Mr. Khan's opinion, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world.
Mr. Khan then elaborated on the bilateral trade and its future potential between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He stated his belief that the lately negotiated Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) will improve the situation of both people by enabling products to transit through each others territory unhindered, with the small restriction that Wagah border will not be open to products coming form India and destining Afghanistan due to certain political issues, as declared by Mr. Khan.
The fact-based and calmly presented lecture met with wide appreciation. A few Pakistani participants stated their concern the APTTA might only allow India to profit. Dr. Khan underlined most explicitly that everyone profits from trade and transit. He called for a change of minds to be less concerned about national rivalry but to think in a bigger scale. Furthermore, there were complaints about the hassle Afghan traders often had to go through when entering Pakistan. Dr. Khan explained that change needed time but could favorably occur within legal frame works such as the APTTA. The majority of participants seemed to agree with the thought trade would improve the standard of living of all people.
The speech was followed by the second speaker, Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Head of the Business School, NUST, lecturing on „The Impact of Donor Policies on the Economic Development“.
Dr. Khan first explained why Pakistan needs international donors and investments, followed by his explanation why these investments often fail to appear. He urged the fact that first of all the state needs to deal with its annual dissavings of several percent of the GDP, as also requested by the World Bank and IMF. For this it was vital to collect taxes. Collecting taxes was the only way to secure Pakistan's future economical freedom of action and thus its sovereignty, he made quite clear.
He than gave his analysis for the alarming state of Pakistan. It is to be explained by a lack of education. Especially the neglect of universities has led to an absence of skilled workers and above all to an absence of teachers who could themselves teach the youth.
At last, he criticized the donor states to spend their money insufficiently. Especially lack of international coordination was mentioned. He stated that it was vital to create ownership. The receiver countries need to develop their own agenda how to spend the money. Only then the politicians and people will feel responsible and the investments will lead to lasting change. The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session.
The lunch break at the Cinnamon Restaurant was followed by another lecture from Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein on “Social Market Economy – A Model for the Region?”. He started this lecture by explaining the role of a state in an economy, the minimal role being the defining and enforcing of rules. The extent of rules and the thereupon based state interventions defining the economy as for example either market free or state planned. He then elaborated on the classical free market theory as presented by Ludwig Ehrhardt, a former German finance minister and chancellor. He explained that the main elements of the theory are the state protected existence of private property as well as competition, thus avoiding the accumulation of economic power but enabling the most efficient to profit and allowing the individual to earn his existence independently of state and society. Prof. Löwenstein explained the welfare state was created later. He then examined whether these two above mentioned pre-conditions could currently be fulfilled in Afghanistan. His conclusion was that although private property was existent and partially protected competition and asset stripping could not be guaranteed due to lack of strong governmental institutions. Therefore no free market could prevail; rather a group of mafias of all kinds were flourishing.
The professor ended his speech with some impressive data comparing the economy of Singapore to those of Afghanistan and Pakistan, showing for example the high costs in transit, bad enforcement of contracts, complicated business laws and raging corruption. The audience, silenced by the stunning data, asked the professor what could be done to improve the situation. To this he could not give a precise answer but the – as he sad himself – little helpful and common one: to fight corruption and set the institutions right. He underlined the need of education in order to enable the youth to not repeat their ancestor’s mistakes.
In the end there was a tea break in which the participants could once again exchange their thoughts on the speeches.
The second day of summer school was concluded by a reception at the German Ambassador's residence. The Ambassador, Dr. Michael Koch, in his welcoming speech thanked Dr. Khalatbari for pursuing reliably the aim to bring the people of the neighbouring states of Pakistan and Afghanistan closer to each othee and saluted him for undertaking the project “Trilateral Summer School”. The Ambassador pointed out that Afghanistan and Pakistan may find common grounds in their strife for democracy. Further, he declared Germany's sympathy with the people of these two countries, both suffering from war and terror. The reception ended at about 22:00 hrs. The particopants then were transferred back to the Marriot Hotel.
Wednesday, June 14, 2011
The welcome by the dean Dr. Ross Husain took place with some delay due to some participants showing up late. Remarkable was that the seating arrangements had changed to the first day: then the participants chose to sit in groups according to their nationality, now they were sitting in national disorder.
The first speaker of the day was the well known Pakistani human rights activist Ms. Tahira Abdullah. She talked about „Evolving Democratic Trends in the Region“. She started her speech - which was passionately presented from the very beginning - by showing up the current situation regarding, amongst others, gender discrimination, the neglect of minorities and the consequences of the “war of terror” as she put it. She illustrated this by some truly unsettling pictures.
She then focused on the problem of poverty which has been increasing over the past years. Especially women were disproportionately affected. She said that there was a proven nexus between poverty and extremism. The international community could therefore tackle terrorism much better and easier by improving the standard of living of the people in the AfPak region. They should restrain from sending troops to Afghanistan; she here called the “sharpshooting American cowboy-soldiers” as well as the NATO and ISAF forces the enemy of the Afghan people as they were occupying their country. Being unusually frank, she caused bewilderment to some participants. To tackle poverty, it was also necessary to implement a land reform.
She then expressed her hope of establishing a democracy in the region which is not only of electoral character but truly bettered the position of the people. She declared it was therefore necessary that everyone spoke up. She stated that many within the urban population have started doing so. She also stressed that in a democracy all citizens must be equal; neglect of certain groups, such as the Belochi in Pakistan, can not be.
The audience reacted very ambivalent to this ardent speech. Statements agreeing with several of her viewpoints were stated. However, a number of questions especially regarding the situation in Afghanistan were raised. Nevertheless she kept to her opinion and stated there were other ways for the Afghan people to ride themselves of religious or foreign dictatorship and to establish peace and democracy. During the following tea break, the discussion was continued quite heated.
This presentation was succeeded by a speech from Senator (rtd) Enver Baig who spoke on “National Interests versus Regional Cooperation”. Firstly, he declared the EU to be an successful example of regional cooperation. He then introduced the South Asian equivalent, called “South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation” (SAARC). He admitted that the amount of achievements so far accomplished were disillusioning. SAARC needed re-orientation on an institutional as well as on an operational basis. Political tensions and escalating military budgets would hinder fruitful discussion and peaceful cooperation.
He ended his speech by stating there can be no peace in the region as long as there were foreign troops on Afghan soil. He suggested they should leave as their have been no achievements so far and none are to be expected in the near future.
His quite short speech met with several questions. When asked about reasons for the little success of the SAARC, Senator Baig explained that the two most important players, India and Pakistan, were in quarrel over the Kashmir conflict. It was therefore vital to solve this conflict. He asked for the help of the international community to put pressure on India. The Senator criticised the international community for their recent neglect of this issue of utmost importance. When confronted with several skeptical questions especially from the Afghan participants about his conviction the NATO forces should leave the region, he answered that it was up to the people of Afghanistan to decide about their future. It was not business of the international community. Further, it was usually necessary to pass through a hard time before a peaceful democracy could be established, as often cited in history.
Having a tight schedule, a quick buffet dinner was offered in the Nadia Restaurant at the Marriot Hotel. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Hugh van Skyhawk, Full Professor of Comparative Religion, Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad delivered the third speech of the day on “Religion – A Force for Peace or Confrontation?”.
Prof. van Skyhawk in the first part of his speech explained and compared various religions in regard to the speech's topic. He gave several quotations from the respective holy books and told anecdotes in flowery language from his extensive knowledge and long time experience. He then went into the philosophy of the Islam concluding that Islam was not intrisically out for confrontation. On the contrary, peace and tolerance towards other religions was an important part of Islam as the prophet often stressed. Best example was the common islamic greeting “As-salamu Alaykum”, meaning “Peace be upon you”. He also told of late movements to renew Islam. He then turned to a more real-life level saying the Islam is polically being misused. He also critised the media for concentrating on the bad parts thus creating a bad picture of Islam throughout the Western world.
The rich presentation met with wide approval, especially his well handling of such a delicate topic was lauded. A few participants doubted the relevance of comparative religion as it was highly theoretical and of no use to the common people. Prof. van Skyhawk said his experience over the past years gave quite the opposite conclusion. People are deeply touched by faith and therefore always interested in learning more about it.
The lecture was followed by a short tea break. At about 19:30 hrs, the participants left for the Daman-e-Koh viewpoint in the Margalla Hills (the foothills of the Himalaya) from where one can oversee the whole city of Islamabad. After having taken several group pictures, the group went on to the Monal Restaurant. Before supper was served, Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhary, Former Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), gave a lecture on “The Kashmir Case – Democratic and Political Views of Past, Present and Future”.
He first talked about the upcoming elections in which he takes part as candidate. He asked the international community for monitoring the situation in Kashmir more carefully. He then gave his perspective on the Kashmir conflict with India. First, he explained the importance of solving this issue. It would take away pressure from the Pakistani Government and Army, thus enabling them to tackle the many other issues troubling the people of Pakistan. He then introduced the United Nations Resolution for Kashmir, declaring that the region should entirely either belong to India or to Pakistan. But Sultan Chaudary expressed his doubts that India would soon give in to this solution. India being the world's biggest democracy and having a firmly growing economy felt way to confident to yield to Pakistan. He then stated his hope of finding a different and more promptly solution by introducing an intra-Kashmir dialogue. He ended his speech by declaring that he wanted global powers to play a role in the Kashmir conflict which he once again strongly declared to be a core issue not only for Pakistan, but also for improving the probability of success in Afghanistan.
The particpants then enjoyed their supper on the VIP-terrasse of the restaurant while having the opportunity of talking to the former Prime Minister of AJK. They returned to the hotel at about 22:30 hrs.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The day started with a breakfast. At 9:00 hrs, the four coaches along with the participants and their luggage took off for Lahore, Punjab. Before the departure, Cornal (rtd) Aziz had joined the group. Originating from Lahore and being a military expert, he had planned the local program. The journey was interrupted only by a short break for stretching the legs. Otherwise the long drive gave the opportunity to get to know each other in a less official ambiance. At about 15:00 hrs the coaches arrived at the Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel and everybody was checked in. After having a packed lunch from the PC in the rooms, the trip was continued to Wagah Border to attend the closing ceremony which takes place every evening before sunset. The ceremony is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have followed since 1959. Wagah is a famous crossing point on the Indian-Pakistani border. Nowhere else are the tense relations between these two countries physically so visible. The visit to Wagah Border was aimed at making the Summer School participants understand the nature of the bilateral relations and the volatile situation of this region.
Prior to the border closing ceremony, music was played along with the local people singing and dancing to it. At 18:00 hrs, the border ceremony started. The Indian soldiers were marching on the one side on the border, the Pakistani soldiers on the other; both frenetically supported by their respective citizens. The parade took about 30 minutes. Then everyone strolled along on a path very close to the border line, only separated by not more than one meter of no-where land from the Indians strolling on the other side. Pakistani and Indian civilians were staring at each other and taking pictures – a most curious situation.
Afterwards, the participants had a two hours rest at the PC Hotel. According to the program, a speech of the famous journalist and author Ahmed Rashid should have taken place. Due to an invitation by the German Embassy on the occasion of the visit of the German Minister for Economic Cooperation, Dirk Niebel, Ahmed Rashid had to regret on a short notice. However, at 21:30 hrs the Summer School participants set off for supper. The “Cuckoo's Den” is a well-known restaurant owned by a Pakistani artist situated in the highest floor of an antic old house in the historic center of Lahore. Dining on the roof-top, one has a spectacular view of the Badshahi Mosque and the Red Fort, probably the two historically most important sights of Lahore. The aloof atmosphere and the traditional barbeque meals along with some good talks were enjoyed until late in the night.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Friday morning commenced with an early rising. At 9:15 hrs everybody had checked out from the PC Hotel, and the sightseeing tour through Lahore could then begin. The first stop was at the Badshahi Mosque which had been admired from above the evening before. After strolling the architectural amazing Mosque, the participants entered Red Fort. A guide gave information on the history of the Fort which has been built and used by four Mughal Emperors and eventually by the British, too. As the temperatures in Lahore rose higher and the Friday prayer's were about to start, the participants took off for Islamabad around noon. Being equipped with packed lunch, only a short break had to be taken. The coaches arrived at the Marriott Hotel Islamabad at 18:30 hrs. Everybody checked back into their rooms. Supper was taken at 20:00 hrs at the Terrace Café. Most participants being quite exhausted went to bed immediately after dinner.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
The last day of the Trilateral Summer School started once again with a welcome by the dean. He announced the programme for the day – the participants were to split up into three working groups. Each group should develop a future scenario for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the year 2015. Dr. Ross Masood Husain explained the idea of the task by quoting Perikles, an Athenian statesman: It is not important to predict the future, but to be prepared for it.
Then Dr. Gunter Mulack, former German Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and quite an expert on the Islamic world, gave an introductory speech on the mapping of future scenarios. He first pointed out the importance of being prepared for the future by giving several examples from history. He explained one has to be prepared not only for the most propable case, but also for the less likely worst-case and best-case scenario. When creating a future scenario, it is important to focus on certain issues such as internal security, economic development, governance etc. and try to foresee the development up to some point in the future. One therefore has to consider current trends within the region and the population as well as the actions of other driving forces. One also has to take one's knowledge, experience and feelings into account.
The Ambassador gave the groups the advise to work by the method of brainstorming. He encouraged everybody to speak up and to state their ideas even if they sounded provoking or unconventional. Imagination was to be let run wild and the mind should wander.
After Dr. Mulack’s speech, a handout explaining scenario mapping in a nutshell was distributed. It was read out loud by the dean who then announced the three working groups. All participants have been allocated to one of the groups in advance.
The groups of mixed nationalty were lead to specially prepared conference rooms where they could discuss undisturbed. Each group was advised to appoint one moderator and one keeper of minutes. Further, each group was provided with a laptop to prepare a PowerPoint presentation which was to be presented in the afternoon.
The lively and substantive discussions, being supervised by Dr. Mulack, Dr. Khalatbari, and Hamed Gailani, went on until 16:30 hrs. The debates were only shortly interrupted by a tea break and a lunch at Jason's Board Room at the Marriott Hotel during which the participants used the chance to exchange their viewpoints with members of other groups.
At 16:30 hrs, the presentations began. The first group had to deal with the optimistic view. They showed up the possibility of a flourishing and peaceful AfPak region. As fundament for any such development they named internal security. Accordingly they stressed the importance of better training and equipment for Afghan security personel. Remarkable was that even the optimistic view did not believe – nor wish for – the international troops to leave entirely in 2014. They foresaw increasing ownership in political as well as in economical means. The government will be powerful enough to enforce the state of law and to tackle with the mafia. Thus, international donors will invest and economic change will be brought about. With increasing standard of living, people will be more accessible to democratic development. The upcoming elections in Pakistan will bring a decisive result, thus enabling the government to take action. The Kashmir issue will be resolved, allowing the government and the military to focus on other pressing issues. Eventually, terrorist groups will be cracked down.
The second group had to map out the so-called trend scenario, the most likely scenario for 2015. For Afghanistan, they declared a decrease in internal security. NATO forces will be reduced in 2014 to an amount which will just advoide civil war. Social-economic development, being interlinked with internal security, will not improve, maybe even decrease, by 2015. Afghanistan is still the world's biggest producer of opium. No decisive change will be achieved in democratic development. The international attention for Afghanistan will decline and bring along a decrease in international funding. In Pakistan, there will be no major change. The upcoming elections will bring no decisive result about, thus further weakening the government's position. Its capacity to act will decrease, thus hindering desperately needed reforms to be introduced. Social-economic problems will therefore not improve. This will further lead to a radicalization of society, especially in the Western parts of the country.
The third group, forecasting the worst-case scenario, painted quite a dark picture of the future. They focused on the upcoming elections in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They foresaw them failing in many ways: Presidential candidates will be assassinated, election results neglected and inter-party cooperation and dialogue abandoned. The complete withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan will leave a vacuum which will immidiately be filled by the Taliban as well as the Haqqani Network and other terroristic groups. Eventually civil war will come about and Afghanistan will fall apart. The capacity to act of the Pakistani government will further deteriorate. Even the military will not have the capacity to bring about stability. Eventually this will lead to a sort of anarchy in Pakistan. A negative spill-over will infect the entire region and will lead to the further radicalization of society, thus supporting global terrorism and making a good and peaceful life for the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan impossible.
After the presentations the final ceremonies began. Dr. Ross Masood Husain wrapped up the results of the Trilateral Summer School. He spoke of a resounding success. The three topics security, stability and trade were widely presented and discussed. Opions reaching from one extrem to the other, reaching from grimness to hopefulness gave an all-embracing overview of the current situation. He stated that it was made quite clear that a military option alone would not solve the region's pressing issues. Instead, one had to reach out to the people. He thanked all the participants for speaking out their thoughts and discussing with each other in such a respectful way.
Dr. Khalatbari then gave his thanks to all those who partook in the succes of the Trilateral Summer School: the speakers, the particpants, the dean as the „father of all rapporteurs“, the German Ambassador and the German Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation which provided the funds and thus enabled the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung to conduct the seminar. But even more he thanked all those who did not run away from challenges and are willing to bring change about. He also thanked all those who give support and motivation to the youth.
Then, the certificates were distributed to the Summer School participants in an official ceremony by Dr. Babak Khalatbari and Dr. Ross Masood Husain. At about 18:30 hrs the ceremony was over.
At 20:00 hrs the Farewell Dinner at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung started. Approximately 200 people, among them Senators, parliamentarians, journalists, renowned academics and members of the international community, followed the invitation. The participants used their last chance to interact in a warm and friendly atmosphere which permitted good talks and discussions to take place. The Farewell Dinner ended at around 24:00 hrs.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Sunday morning, at 1:00 hrs the German particpants were taken to the Benazir Bhutto Airport. There the plane left on time back to Germany via Abu Dhabi. The Afghan participants were transferred to the airport at 6:00 hrs. There UNHAS plane left Islamabad at 8:30 hrs.
Pakistan, June 29, 2011