Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Visit of Italian Defense Minister To NUST GTTN
Start Date 
9/19/2016
End Date 
9/19/2016
Venue 
NUST Jinnah Auditorium
The NUST Global Think Tank Network hosted the Defense Minister of Italy, H.E. Roberta Pinotti, on the 19th of September, 2016. The keynote address marked another event of GTTN Lecture Series. The address covered various facets of Italy’s role as an active and useful member of the global peacekeeping operations as the member of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The event was graced by the National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General (R) Nasser Khan Janjua and eminent experts from academia, think tanks, political, military and civil organizations, corporate sector, and media. A significant aspect of the event was an enthusiastic participation of NUST students through their comments and questions which mirrored their interest in and insight of the contemporary geopolitical and strategic trends.

The keynote took place as part of a distinguished panel consisting of GTTN Senior Fellows: Ambassador Riaz Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan; Humayun Gauhar, renowned intellectual and noted man of letters; and Brigadier (R) Mujahid Alam, Principal Lawrence College and former senior Pakistani commander in UN peacekeeping missions. The panel was moderated by Owais Ghani, GTTN Senior Fellow and former Governor of Balochistan and KPK and the discussion was concluded by Rector NUST, Lieutenant General (R) Engineer Muhammad Asghar.

Minister Pinotti explained the indispensable role played by Italy before and after its unification in the historical evolution of international humanitarian principles applicable during wartime and in confli​ct zones. She explained that there was a fundamental organic link between the constitutional processes of Italian State-making and Statehood and humane international legal developments that stressed the importance of civilized conduct among belligerents and kind treatment of non-combatants. The Minister said Italy’s defense and foreign policies were based on the need to create peace globally. She stated that Italy’s Constitution rejected “war as an offence against the freedom of other peoples and as an instrument for resolving international disputes”. This focus on peace, she said, allowed Italy to quickly recover from the massive destruction to its economy, society, and infrastructure caused by the World Wars I and II. She enumerated the proactive role played by Italy in the global war against terrorism and lauded Pakistan’s role in the fight against terrorism. She informed the audience that Italy was one of the largest contributors to the UN and NATO peacekeeping missions.

Owais Ghani stressed that Pakistan seemed fated to play the role of the “gatekeeper of Hindu Kush” and that future could hold greater challenges in store for the country than the odds it had been facing and confronting since the late 1970s after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He said that the world needs to listen closely to Pakistan for a sustainable political solution in Afghanistan, while referring to the honorable Minister’s remarks that Pakistan is expected to play a political role there. He posited that Italy and Pakistan could join hands on an international convention to ban armed drones just as they both are signatory to the convention banning land mines.

Riaz Khokhar opined that world had grown to be an alarmingly unstable place, what with the snowballing conflicts in the Greater Middle East. He acclaimed the balanced role Italy had played in NATO and the excellent humanitarian and peacekeeping service provided by its peacekeeping forces in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Brigadier (R) Mujahid Alam observed that in recent years Italy had had to shift its attention from peacekeeping missions in Africa to Middle East and Afghanistan. He also highlighted that Italy was undergoing major restructuring of its armed forces with reduced defense budget. He stated defense and peacekeeping would become somewhat challenging for Italy but not unachievable by any manner of means in view of Italy’s strong military and peacekeeping track record.

Humayun Gauhar said situation around the world was changing fast because the world was undergoing deep structural transformations. He said the root causes of global terrorism had to be kept in mind. He posited that non-State terrorism was historically the product of State terrorism and that nobody should have had the right to invade other countries. He said it was about time the hegemonic mind-set was jettisoned by powerful countries.

The session also included a useful interactive session with the learned audience. In response to a question about Indian atrocities in Indian-held Kashmir, the Minister said that in her meeting with Pakistan’s President and Defense Minister, the serious situation of Indian-held Kashmir was discussed. She said Italian PM and Foreign Minister would participate in the ongoing UN General Assembly, and that was the right forum to deliberate and decide upon such issues of great importance. She did recognize that the situation in Indian-held Kashmir was totally unacceptable.

In response to the challenge of devising innovative approaches to tackling terrorism and conflict, the Minister said the innovative soft-power approach to conflict and peace would be found in places like NUST as a result of creativity of powerful young minds.

In response to a question about the role of Pakistan in the war against terrorism, the Minister highly appreciated the spirit of Pakistan in fighting terrorism. She said she thanked Pakistan for the high price in human lives that it had paid. Madam Pinotti further said that Pak-Italian mutual defense cooperation would enhance in the days to come.

Rector NUST, Lieutenant General (R) Muhammad Asghar, made the closing remarks and stressed the need for harmonious development of inter-state relations. He drew attention towards the transformed nature of security and terrorism and stated that global peace required a mind-set that was irreducibly committed to peace and was courageous enough to venture out for discovering new, creative but sustainable solutions to conflicts of different kinds. He said zero-sum drive for power and extremist religious ideologies were the parents of contemporary global terrorism. He pointed out innovative search for new and lasting solutions to peace was being hampered by a global generation gap. He said social media was a powerful factor of change and agitation so needed to be handled carefully. He said finding the solution to problems of conflict and peace was an urgent global social question that demanded farsighted and comprehensive answers. He concluded it was this quest for global peace that required broadest possible global cooperation.