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A Conversation with Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of Pakistan's Senate Defense Committee

November 5, 2021

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Dean’s Office hosted Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Defense Committee, on November 5, 2021. Kent E. Calder, Special Advisor to the Dean and Director of Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at SAIS, delivered opening remarks, and Joshua T. White, Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies at SAIS, moderated the conversation with Sayed. To begin the discussion, Sayed touched on Pakistan’s role in international relations by noting, "movement of history is between the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Central Asia, at the heart of which is Pakistan." He then transitioned to discussing U.S.-Pakistan relations, explaining "cooperation between our countries will return, and both have to engage the Taliban."

Regarding Afghanistan, Sayed declared, "the U.S. should make new mistakes and stop making the old ones, like abandoning the region." He said he expects the U.S. to get over its defeat in Afghanistan and help Pakistan stabilize and assist the Afghan people facing a devastating winter and the prospect of mass hunger. Sayed noted Pakistan is already coordinating with Turkey, Qatar, China, Russia, and Iran to help provide humanitarian aid to Kabul.

As the discussion turned to Pakistan’s relationship with China and the CPEC project, Sayed said the following upcoming projects could define Pakistan’s future: Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Gas Pipeline and Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) Gas Pipeline. He closed the discussion by expressing hope that Japan and South Korea will support China and Pakistan in helping to build an “Asian Century."