CPEC is a harbinger of socio-economic development in the region

Chairman Kashmir Committee Shahryar Khan has termed CPEC as a game-changer for not only for Pakistan but for the whole region especially Afghanistan. He further said that CPEC would set Pakistan and Afghanistan on a path of peaceful coexistence and shared prosperity. He said so while addressing the participants of Pak, Afghan Youth Jirga held under the aegis of Pak-Afghan Youth Forum in the capacity of a keynote speaker.

ISLAMABAD: Kashmir Committee Chairman Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan are twin-sister states that are set to march on a path of peaceful coexistence and development, adding that the China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is vehicle of this economic development and prosperity.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan are twin-sister states who have lived, grew and fought together against enemies and foreign invaders. Now we need to march on a path of peaceful coexistence and economic development together. CPEC is the vehicle to economic development and youth is driver of this journey towards regional peace and prosperity,” said Afridi while addressing the participants of Pak, Afghan Youth Jirga held under the aegis of Pak-Afghan Youth Forum.

Youth icons, students and young professionals from Pakistan and Afghanistan attended the discussion aimed at sharing and identifying various problems and issues.

The webinar was organized as part of PAYF’s initiatives to enhance people-to-people connection between two countries. The Youth Jirga was also arranged in an effort to start cross-border dialogue between the youth of Pakistan and Afghanistan to understand the all-important role of the youth of both the countries as Afghanistan finally heads towards peace and stability.

The Jirga style setup enabled the participants to interact in an informal and casual atmosphere so that problems and solutions were presented by each country’s representatives amicably.

Keynote Speaker Shehryar Afridi delivered his address vehemently in Pashto, Urdu and English languages, reminding the panelists of the shared history, lineage, culture, and traditions of both the brotherly countries.

He spoke regarding how four million Afghan refugees historically have been welcomed with open arms by the Pakistani society. He said Pakistan has always looked towards the Afghans as their brotherly guests and allowed them free to roam in our country as they would in their own motherland.

Moreover, throughout the address, the message of Afridi remained the same that without a peaceful Afghanistan, the future of this region is very bleak; only together can the new generation fight the political powers that aim to bring disruption and chaos to both countries.

The panelists echoed his sentiments as they talked about the role of the youth evolved during the years. They shared now is the time where the frayed bonds between the people of both countries must be repaired in order to bring peace and stability to the region.

Ahmad Zia Mohmand, a youth representative from the civil society of Afghanistan said, “Eventhough we have inherited a war torn nation we now have the opportunity to turn that curse into a chance. The new generation can make a difference to set things right, with the help of the Pakistani society and the great people of Pakistan.”

Likewise, another panelist, Mr. Syed Hussain Anosh, the Executive Director of the Civil Society and Human Rights Network think tank in Afghanistan spoke about the economic gains both countries can achieve via cooperation and peaceful coexistence. He felt that the youth has to see Pak Afghan relations beyond strict bilateral contours, as Afghanistan is a gateway to Central Asia, Middle East, Iran and China.

Furthermore, a young martial arts champion and representative of the Hazara community, Ms. Farzana Hakimi spoke very eloquently about how Pak-Afghan relations are always trapped in hard politics, marred by terrorism and violence.

In her opinion, the youth and their issues often go neglected. She felt that although there is some emphasis on educational pursuits, issues of sports never come to light. Being a young sportswoman, she urged Pak-Afghan Youth Forum to tap the talent of the youth from both sides. The webinar was concluded with an aim to highlight thought-provoking ideas and solutions in different sittings of Jirga which shall be helpful in improving ties between two countries.