KABUL - AFGHANISTAN
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
Your Excellency President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani,
The Honorable Ministers and Members of the Cabinet,
The Honorable Members of Parliament,
The Honorable Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Professor Afaaf Zidaan from the Republic of Egypt,
The Respected Family Members of the Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
السلام علیکم و رحمت الله و برکاته!
At the outset, I am delighted to welcome your participation in the International Seminar on the Commemoration of the personality and achievements of the Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq, the former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan. And it is appropriate to extend our appreciation to all my colleagues and members of the Commission to organize this Seminar, based on a presidential decree, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the birth of this great statesman-scholar.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Nations that fail to study their past and those of others attentively and critically are doomed, as they deprive themselves of learning from the experiences of the past for effectiveness and success today. That is why this Seminar is aimed at recognizing and further learning about the lifetime achievements of a great statesman and scholar of our country.
Indeed, this Seminar is not only an opportunity to learn about the various aspects of an eminent personality but to scrutinize critically the way governance and foreign relations functioned in Afghanistan. This should allow us a deeper insight into how past governments operated, especially in the international affairs arena. An academic review of our past and study of almost a century of the ups and downs of politics and foreign relations of our country should teach us significant lessons for mapping up our country’s future course more effectively.
Paying tribute to the Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq and other renowned figures of our history doesn’t serve our principal purpose, unless we actually learn from and put into practice the lessons left behind by these eminent personalities.
The Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq is one of our contemporary history’s accomplished statesmen and scholars, whose life and works this Seminar participants will discuss. He was not only a capable poet and writer but he was also considered a talented lawyer and smart politician of much courage and knowledge, who stood out among his contemporaries.
The Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq was raised in an enlightened and devoutly Muslim family, which helped shape his character, thinking, and education in law. This allowed him to be an effective manager, armed with Islam’s timeless values and principles of honesty, integrity, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence. That is why following the notorious Saur coup, he along with a number of other scholars and statesmen—including Martyred Professor Ghulam Mohammad Niyazi and Martyred Professor Wafiullah Samehi were innocently executed by Communist criminals.
In addition to being a principled politician, the Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq produced major literary works in Farsi and Pashtu, making significant contributions to the contemporary literature of Afghanistan. This Seminar is certain to discuss his literary works, and the impact it has left on the thinking of his literary followers and fans.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq played an influential role during the Democracy Decade in Afghanistan that saw the adoption of the Afghan Constitution, which this week celebrates. Because he firmly believed in government by the people, he was one of the key activists of the Democracy Decade and later served as the Secretary of the Constitutional Loya Jirga in 1343 when the Constitution was adopted.
During his terms as the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, the Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq firmly adhered to the principles of good governance, building institutional capacity to strengthen governance and rule of law. Meantime, he drew on his expert knowledge of the region and strove to maintain friendly and productive relations with Afghanistan’s neighbors.
His consistent efforts to build confidence with Iran and Pakistan helped reduce tensions and ensure stability in the region. He successfully negotiated the Afghan-Iranian Water Treaty in 1973. This was one of the most successful treaties signed by Afghanistan, and we strongly believe that our diplomatic institution is well-prepared to pursue and achieve our foreign policy objectives, under the current circumstances.
Drawing on the rich experiences of our past, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, over the past decade and a half, has initiated and helped implement major regional programs in the political, security, and economic areas within such regional frameworks of cooperation as RECCA and the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. The Ministry has worked bilaterally and multilaterally with the countries of the region to implement projects of mutual and common benefit within the said frameworks.
As we have witnessed, many of the projects under implementation now have been planned or designed at the Ministry. This demonstrates our increased capacity as a diplomatic institution, which with further support and guidance by the Government’s leadership could do more to achieve our foreign policy objectives in the region and beyond.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Martyred Mohammad Musa Shafiq did his best to build confidence between Afghanistan and Pakistan, both during his premiership and as Foreign Minister. The National Unity Government of Afghanistan follows on his footsteps, pursuing a robust regional diplomacy to build confidence with and among the countries of the region where Afghanistan is a place of economic cooperation through trade and investment, as opposed to an arena of confrontation.
Perhaps some think that Afghanistan’s regional diplomacy efforts wouldn’t achieve much. But such efforts are certain to bear fruit for regional stability and prosperity on the long run. We strongly believe that more now than ever before the countries of the region need to cooperate with one another, in order to overcome the many common challenges and threats that confront them. Indeed, this realization has provided the region with many opportunities for win-win cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since this Seminar discusses the lifetime achievements of one of Afghanistan’s great statesmen and diplomats, I consider it relevant to point out a few issues that should be taken into account so that the conduct of our foreign policy succeeds in achieving our core national security interests.
First, in order to be able to attain our key national interests in the international system, we need to stabilize our internal politics. This requires building broad national consensus through prioritization of our national interests over individual political agendas that undermine the national strength and courage needed to project a robust presence in the international system. In other words, internal balancing is the key to external balancing, which will help us secure the future of our country.
Second, developments in the region and the world are rapidly evolving and complicated. This necessitates pragmatism with policy initiatives and prescriptions geared towards win-win outcomes. In this regard, we encourage international relations experts to research and publish studies that help guide our diplomatic institutions to achieve greater effectiveness in the conduct of international diplomacy.
With these points, I wish the participants of this timely Seminar very productive discussions. And we look forward to reading any reports and papers your discussions in this Seminar will produce.