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Sunday, May 19, 2024

“Sri Lanka’s struggle for peace and its lessons for Pakistan and the region”: A post Seminar analysis

Summary Report |

Ex-President Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa at a local conference opined that there is no distinction between terrorists. Terrorism is against the spirit of humanity and no country can prosper if people are compelled to live their lives under fear.

He was addressing a Seminar titled, “Sri Lanka’s Struggle for Peace & its lessons for Pakistan and the Region” which was organized by Global Village Space (GVS) and Center for Research & Security Studies (CRSS) at Serena Hotel, Islamabad on 21st June 2017. Mr. President recalled that at the time of him taking office, Sri Lankan armed forces were not prepared for counterinsurgency operations.  He stated that the government had provided support to the military. He identified public support as a crucial and necessary element in any counter-terrorism operation and what it entailed.

The session was chaired by Pakistan’s Ex-Defense Secretary, Gen. Asif Yaseen. Former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ms. Seema Baloch introduced the former President to the audience and stated that the Sri Lankan Government took decisive action against terrorism. She iterated that following its success, Sri Lanka began to open its routes and increasingly integrate with the international community and that “His Excellency Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a leader of the masses and Sri Lanka is now experiencing peace and stability due to the leadership of Mr. President”.

Mr. Rajapaksa iterated that successful anti-terrorism operations depend as much on internal factors as they do on external factors. Public education and support is necessary to thwart any sympathy or help for the enemy. There is no room for hypocrisy or double-dealing, he stressed. He stressed the importance of coordination between military, government and the general public in order to fight the menace of terrorism.

Mr. Rajapaksa also stated that the LTTE always used the peace deals brokered by Norway to regroup and launch attacks with increased vigor and intensity. He also criticized the international human rights bodies for using the human rights covenants to pressurize Sri Lankan government to broker peace with LTTE which always exploited it.

In his concluding remarks, Ex-President Rajapaksa specifically mentioned Pakistan’s unconditional support to Sri Lanka during this period, which proved crucial in defeating LTTE. He further stressed on the need for more such dialogues and platforms to better understand the menace of terrorism and employ measures to combat it and achieve peace in the region.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s talk was followed by a robust Q&A session in which diplomats, scholars, and media persons participated. His Excellency answered every question in great detail and expressed his pleasure on the participation of the audience in this important discussion. He also congratulated Global Village Space for successful conduction of Seminar and also was kind enough to record a testimonial for Global Village Space. The event was attended by a wide section of diplomats, civil society, and academia and media persons.

President Rajapaksa was Sri Lanka’s sixth President from 2005 till 2015; he created history in the South Asia region, through his difficult, often painful, but ultimately successful military and political campaign against a three-decade-old war, insurgency and terrorism by Tamil Tigers (LTTE) and led Sri Lanka to a path towards peace and economic recovery. The talk delivered by Mr. President proved very vital in understanding the underlying causes of terrorism and how best to deal with them.

Global Village Space is committed to providing a new and alternate perspective to the general public on important policy matters. It plans to conduct such events in the future. The entire seminar can be viewed on globalvillagespace.com and its Facebook page.

( Detailed report to be out soon )