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> Western Scholars arrive for Muslims-West Dialogue
   
 
Dialogue Series
August 11, 2008
Hotel Pearl Continental, Karachi

   

Three prominent scholars from the US, UK and Canada reached Pakistan to take part in the Dialogue between the Muslim World and the West with a special reference to Pakistan as the country is about to celebrate its 61st Independence Anniversary. The Dialogue has been organised by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT and Geo Network is the exclusive Media Partner for the dialogue.

 
 

Professor Stephen Cohen, the South Asia Expert at the prestigious Brookings Institution in Washington DC and the author of the highly acclaimed book ‘The Idea of Pakistan’ arrived in Karachi on the special invitation of PILDAT. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a member of the British House of Lords and the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action in the Conservative Party Shadow Cabinet has also arrived to take part in the Dialogue. She has also served as the Vice President of the Conservative party and holds one of the senior most positions in British politics ever held by a British of Pakistani / Kashmiri origin. Mr. Kamran Bokhari, a canada-based Director of Middle East Analysis in the Strategic Forecasting, Inc.; commonly known as Stratfor in North America also reached Karachi to take part in the series of dialogues. The 3-part series of the dialogue will commence in Karachi on August 11 when the eminent scholars from the West will identify the ‘Key Issues affecting the Relations between the West and the Muslim World’ and, more specifically, Pakistan. A panel of distinguished Pakistani intellectuals consisting of Mr. Ghazi Salahuddin, the well-known analyst and columnist; Mr. Tariq Fatemi, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the US and Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Professor at the IBA will confer with their Western counterparts to draw an agreed list of major issues that figure prominently in the relationship between the West and the Muslim World. The second dialogue in the series will take place in Lahore the following day where the panel from the West will be joined by Mr. Sajjad Karim, MEP, a member of the European Parliament. The 4-member panel from the West will discuss ‘Terror-Pakistan Nexus: Myth or Reality’ with a group of Pakistani intellectuals consisting of Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Asad Durrani, former Pakistani Ambassador and a Director General of ISI and MI; Ms. Nasim Zehra, Security Analyst and fellow of the Asia Center at Harvard University and Prof. Hassan-Askari Rizvi, a highly respected Defence and Political Analyst.

 
 

The final round of the Dialogue will take place in Islamabad where the two sides will discuss the Impact of the Islamic Identity of Pakistan on the Relationship between Pakistan and the West.’ The Pakistani panel at this dialogue will consist of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Prof. Tahir Amin, Head of International Relations Department at Quaid-e-Azam University and Ejaz Haider, Consulting Editor of the Friday Times and Op-Ed Editor of the Daily Times. The dialogues will be moderated by the PILDAT Executive Director, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob. PILDAT and Geo Network have entered into an exclusive partnership for world-wide telecasting of the 3-part dialogue.

 
 

Relations between the countries of the Muslim and the Western worlds have come under new strains following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States. A string of terrorist attacks in Madrid (March 11, 2004) and London (July 7, 2006) and various attempts at such attacks elsewhere against the targets within the Western World have further accentuated these strains. These terrorist attacks and the response to such attacks have led to a spiral of violence which seriously threatens the world peace and stability.

 
 

Over the past 3 years, PILDAT has made modest efforts to promote a dialogue between persons from the western world and those who belong to the Muslim World especially Pakistan. The objective of such dialogues is to promote better understanding of the issues impacting the relationship between the two sides and find ways to address such issues effectively. PILDAT has hosted dialogue between Young American Political Leaders and their Pakistani counterparts in 2006. The same year, PILDAT hosted a series of dialogues between young British political leaders nominated by the mainstream British parties and their Pakistani counterparts in May 2006. Later a Group of Western Legislators of Pakistani origin visited Pakistan in April 2008 and held a series of 3 dialogues with Pakistani legislators and intellectuals. This is yet another round of three dialogues between some of the Western legislators, intellectuals and thinkers on the one hand and Pakistani intellectuals on the other.