Mushahid launches Pakistan’s first think tank on Africa, urges need to broaden Pakistan’s foreign policy outlook as Pakistan, China and Africa are part of Global South

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Islamabad, April 18, 2024: Pakistan’s first think tank on Africa, Pakistan-Africa Institute for Development & Research (PAIDAR) was launched at a well attended event at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) today. The think tank is the brain child of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed who is also the founding President of PAIDAR and who introduced the aims and objectives of this new initiative. The think tank was launched at a Seminar hosted by the Institute of Strategic Studies with the theme: “Reviving the Bandung spirit of Afro-Asian solidarity: Pakistan-Africa relations”. The guests included a number of ambassadors, especially from African countries as well as scholars, students, dignitaries and think tanks.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed noted the coincidence of the launch of PAIDAR coincides with the 69th anniversary of the Bandung conference of Asian and African nations held on April 18, 1955 in Indonesia in which Pakistan also participated together with China as well as countries from Africa. He termed Africa as the pivotal player in the resurgence of the Global South with 54 members of the African Union.

Referring to Pakistan-Africa relations, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan’s ties with Africa predate the creation of Pakistan as the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Founder of Pakistan visited Egypt in 1946 to forge friendly ties with this key African country. He said in the 1950s, it was Pakistan which gave full support to liberation movements of African countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Eritrea, even providing diplomatic passports to prominent freedom fighters from these countries. In the 1970s, Pakistan supported the liberation struggles of South Africa and Zimbabwe with financial and military support. Pakistan also provided scholarships for students and technical and administrative assistance to the newly independent countries of Africa including Tanzania, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and today there is also a large Pakistani Diaspora in different countries of Africa. Senator Mushahid Hussain said that “the Bandung Spirit is part of my DNA as my late father Colonel Amjad Hussain Sayed was Pakistan’s first Military Attaché to Indonesia and he played a pivotal role in promoting Pakistan-Indonesia friendship, for which he received the highest military award from Indonesia”.

Outlining the aims and objectives of the new Think Tank on Africa, Senator Mushahid Hussain said that one of the major purposes of PAIDAR would be to restore Pakistan’s foreign policy priority orientation and involvement in Africa given our common interests and revive Pakistan-Africa bond through people-to-people exchanges and business-to-business connectivity in such areas as education, environment and climate change, trade and investment, energy, promoting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, maritime affairs, sports, tourism and culture as Pakistan and Africa have a shared colonial past and are part of the Global South embarked on the democratic path of development.

Ambassadors from African countries: Mohammed Karmoune, Dean of the African Corps and Ambassador of Morocco, Jemal Beker Abdulla, Ambassador of Ethiopia and Mary Nyambura Kamau, High Commissioner of Kenya welcomed the initiative and termed it as a much needed positive platform to promote Pakistan-Africa relations in different domains. Pakistan’s High Commission to South Africa, Aftab Hassain and Ambassador in Ethopia, Atif Sharif Mian as well as Prominent business leader Zafar Bakhtawari and Additional Secretary (Africa), from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sheryar Akbar Khan also spoke on the occasion. Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Suhail Mahmood welcomed the initiative and appreciated Senator Mushahid Hussain’s vision and farsightedness in this new outreach to Africa which would be a plus for promoting Pakistan’s interests in a very important and happening part of the world. He referred to the “unbounded enthusiasm and invaluable contribution” of Senator Mushahid Hussain to promote Pakistan’s interests.

The formal launch of PAIDAR was done by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed along with Chairman of ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mehmood and Director General, ISSI, Ambassador Suhail Mehmood. Senator Mushahid Hussain also announced that among upcoming activities of PAIDAR would be a publication of a regular newsletter as well as celebrations of important anniversaries pertaining to Africa including the upcoming Africa Day on May 25, 2024