A conversation with Nadeem Riyaz
The first Global Conversation of the year has always a huge amount of happiness and hope for a change in the world. Global Governance students could not imagine a better way to start this new year thanks to the presence of the Ambassador of Pakistan, Mr. Nadeem Riyaz. He joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1984 and in 2009 he has covered this role in Sweden.
During the conversation his biggest aim concerned the need to spread the awareness about problems in South Asia: regional disputes, diversity of population, poverty and the big amount of different levels of economic development. While he was depicting all the details about his country, GG students perceived the emotion in his voice and love in his eyes for his home.
First of all, Mr. Riyaz has mentioned the importance of South Asia’ borders, Indian Ocean in particular represents a peculiar “openness” that is fundamental for culture and trade. He underlined the positive parts of the territory, the richness of natural resources, infrastructures, hard working labor force and the capability to make foreign investments.
The historical background is fundamental to understand the present crisis that Pakistan is living. It was a territorial conflict that started after the partition of India in 1947 as a dispute over the state of Jammu and Kashmir; the situation crashed into three wars between India and Pakistan. According to news and scholars, Indian forces have committed many human rights abuses and acts of terror against civilian population including rape and torture. Now India controls the 55% of the land area of the region, Pakistan 30% and China the remaining 15%.
South Asia also has different climate zones and lots of effects of on climate change on their lands. Numerous changes in hydrology and land resources have dramatically affected the production of food grain and the resilience of the ecosystem. The majority of South Asia’ forests have been destroyed by urbanization and deforestation; moreover, in this zone there is the worst air pollution in the world (India has critical situations). Desertification, pollution, deforestation are few examples of environmental challenges for the country; the Ambassador was so worried and excited at the same time because of the dialogue of environment with GG students as the future generations. The loss of biodiversity and food security already have an important place among the challenges of this era, according to Mr. Riyaz.
In the end of the meeting, the audience made lots of interesting questions to the guest, as usual for Global Governance. They included environmental problems, the failing methods of diplomacy for the conflict between Pakistan and India and the importance of technology for politicians these days.
The Ambassador has also explained what has happened these days in South Asia, in particular he underlined the linkage among people-social media-politics. They are a key component for election campaigns, international relations and diplomatic issues. Other interesting points were related to a comparison between the Hong Kong protests and the Pakistan ones for the change of article 370 and 35A of the Constitution. Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement are a series of protests in Hong Kong with the aim to oppose the introduction of the Fugitive Offendersamendment bill proposed by the government. People are worried about the possibility of exposing citizens to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the region and its civil liberties.
All in all, it has been an interesting parenthesis on South Asia and all the future challenges that are waiting the young generations.