Mahmud Ali Durrani became ambassador of Pakistan to the United States on June 8, 2006. Ambassador Durrani previously served in the Governing Council of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London from 2001 to 2004. After retiring from the Pakistani Army, he was also actively involved in the peace efforts between Pakistan and India, and, as part of a process sponsored by the United Nations, he worked with former senior officials from the United States, Russia and Iran to find a peaceful settlement to the Afghan crisis.
Ambassador Durrani graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961 and served in various command and instructional appointments during his army career, including Pakistan's defense and military attache in Washington (1977-82), military secretary to the Pakistani president (1983-86), and chairman and chief executive of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board (1992-98).
In addition, he is the author of several books and studies, including India and Pakistan: The Cost of Conflict and the Benefits of Peace, and Pakistan's Security Imperatives Year 2000 and Beyond.
Jim Falk is the President of the World Affairs Council of Greater Dallas. Prior to joining the council, Mr. Falk served as Vice President of Development at the National Center for Policy Analysis, Director of the Institute for International Education Regional office in Houston, as a Vice President and Group Manager at First City National Bank of Houston, National Deputy Director for Egypt Today, and Director of Education and Media Relations at the Middle East Institute.
He holds an MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and in 2001 was designated a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive).
Director/ Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer, The United Central Bank
Awfully hard as President, I mean he's been in that office now for 24 hours, but he alsohas another job and we want to recognize again the wonderful support of the UnitedCentral Bank where he is the Chief Lending Officer, not an easy job, and an executivevice president. Please welcome Mohammed Younus.Thank you, Jim. Is the volume of my voice okay, can everybody hear? Good eveningladies and gentleman. I'm very honored and it is my utmost pleasure to introduce ourchief guest and keynote speaker for this evening. He is a leader who has all the curiosityfor learning, a boundless energy to put the learning into practice, and a talent to adapt tonew behaviors very quickly. He is one of those blessed leaders who double-up dancesthrough a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.He was born in 1941 and graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961. He hasserved in various commands of staff, an instructional appointments during his armycareer. He attended a mid-career armor course in the USA in 1973 and a basic airbornecourse from Fort Benning in 1982. He served as Pakistan defense and military attache inWashington D.C. From 1977 to 1982. As military secretary to the Pakistan, to thePresident of Pakistan from 1983 to 1986, and as Chairman and Chief Executive ofPakistan Ordinance Factories Board from 1992 to 1998.After retiring from the army he was actively involved in working towards peace effortsbetween India and Pakistan as a member of a dedicated group of Pakistanis and Indians,and is a part of the process sponsored by the United Nations. He worked with formersenior officials from United States, Russia, and Iran to find a peaceful settlement to theArgon Crisis. He has served for three years in the governing council of InternationalInstitute of Strategic Studies in London, from 2001 to 2004.He is the author of several books and studies, including India and Pakistan: the Cost ofConflict, and the Benefits of Peace, published by John Hopkins University; Pakistan'sSecurity Imperatives Year 2000 and Beyond: Enhancing Security Through a CooperativeBorder Monitoring Experiment; A Proposal for India and Pakistan; and Pakistan'sStrategic Thinking in the Role of Nuclear Weapons.He's married and has three children. The Pakistani community here in the US was mostproud of him when he presented his credentials to the President George Bush on 8th ofJune this year. Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and join me in a Texas-size welcomefor His Excellency, Mahmud Ali Durrani, the Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America.Younus, you have done me great disservice. From the pedestal you have put me, I havenowhere to go except to fall. Mr. Baluch council general, Pat Patterson, who was sitting next to Mr.Younus, and members of the World Affairs Council, greetings and it is an honor and aprivilege for me to be here in Dallas today, a state and a town and a city I admire greatlybut I did not expect these temperatures. I was hoping to come to balmy temperatures.But such is life. I'm going to speak a little bit about Pakistan, US relation. I have keptmy speech rather short with the purpose that I think you willhave a more useful session in an interactive question-answers.Pakistan US relations offer an instructive study in interstate relations. Pakistan hasbeen a steadfast ally of the US on almost all major issues confronting the US after theSecond World War. That is, during the Cold War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan,and now the global war against terror. Pakistan was also the conduit through whichPresident Nixon visited China in 1972 to begin a new chapter of relations between thetwo countries. At one point, Pakistan came to be called "the most allied of allies." Andthat's quite an accomplishment in the presence of countries like the United Kingdom and Israel.Yet Pakistan also has the dubious distinction of being the most sanctioned ally from timeto time. Going back into history, in the mid fifties, Pakistan became a member of the USled SEATO and CENTO security arrangements, essentially designed for the containmentof the Soviet Union. While NATO contained the Soviet Union from the west, CENTOand SEATO contained it from south and east. From the mid fifties to the mid sixties, ourrelationship was outstanding. It was a model of a relationship between any two countriesand it was during the mid fifties and the mid sixties that United States was the mostpopular country in Pakistan. I call that the Golden Era period of our relationship.Unfortunately, relations began to cool off between the two countries during the secondhalf of the sixties. We became the forgotten ally, and in the seventies, we had a numberof sanctions imposed on us for a variety of reasons and nuclear happens to be one ofthem. In the closing days of 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and the USonce again badly needed Pakistan. Pakistan willingly obliged. Thus began anotherdecade of close relationship between our two countries. The US enclosed collaborationwith Pakistan, supported, funded and trained what at that time we called Mujahideen,people, Mujahids, from seminaries from Afghanistan, from Pakistan, and some othernationalities. This cooperation led to the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan, and theirwithdrawal from Afghanistan and eventually their collapse. So Afghanistan, in a way,was that last straw which broke the camel's back.Unfortunately, the US, after this victory in Afghanistan, allowed itself to be divertedelsewhere. Such are the problems of a superpower, leaving Pakistan to contend with thewreckage of the Jihad in Afghanistan. What did we get out of it? We got a lot of guns,we got a lot of Mujahideen, and who therein lay the seeds of the present Taliban. Bothgrowing out of seminaries. The US, believing that it no longer needed Pakistan, chose toinvoke dormant legislation such as the Simentan and the rest of the amendments, andstrapped military sales to Pakistan, citing concerns, again, over our much-malignednuclear program. I'm sure I'll get questions on that.The slight of the relationship continued through the nineties. This was a time of the ruleof the warlords in Afghanistan after the Soviets reduced to recollect. Followed by rule ofthe Taliban and the birth of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. As this was not enough, our verygood neighbors, India, conducted nuclear tests, in May 98, followed by some toughwords, leaving very little choice for Pakistan except to do a tit for tat, which we did. Thisagain resulted in more sanctions and further downslide of the US Pakistan relationship.As luck would have it, once again, it was Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 that pulledback the relationship of the Terror Act to the present day, where Pakistan is once again animportant ally and a front-line state in the war to fight global terrorism. Ladies andgentleman, I strongly believe that this roller coaster of the past has to stop. One reasonfor this yo-yo syndrome was the relationship between Pakistan and the United States wasfounded on a very narrow base of security considerations and security considerationsalone. If we are to rid the relationship of the past isolations, we must broaden it and giveit depth. We have to develop a more sustained relationship, capable of weathering the irritants of the day.Fortunately, the leadership of both our countries is now making an earnest effort to lendsubstance and sustainability to the relationship. In brief, broadening the base of ourrelationship. Today, Pakistan is playing a pivotal role in the fight against Al Qaeda andthe Taliban and terrorists. If the International Coalition against terrorism is a team,Pakistan is the player with the most touchdowns to its credit. Pakistan has arrested someof the most senior and wanted Al Qaeda leaders, and rootedout Taliban strongholds from Pakistan's tribal areas.While doing this, Pakistan has also taken some of the heaviest hits in the world againstterrorism. We have lost more than 700 soldiers in operations against the Taliban, since03, and twice as many soldiers have been wounded in this war. Only last month, 43 ofour army recruits were martyred in a suicide bombing. Pakistan played a crucial role inuncovering the plot to blow up airlines flying to the United States with liquid bombs. Ithink today the cooperation between the US and Pakistani intelligence agencies andarmed forces is very good. Despite sniping and the usual expressions in the US mediaabout Pakistan's commitment to the global war against terrorism, believe me, we areresolute in our resolve to eradicate the menace of terrorism from our region.Today, this is my biggest challenge as an ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, toconvince people here that we are firm in our resolve, we are not in bed with the Taliban.We don't like them. Our president has been hit three times. We are suffering casualties.Our recruits have been killed. We must be really stupid or downright mad to supportthem. We are resolute in trying to finish this menace from our region.President Bush was in Pakistan in March this year. The two countries announced a longterm partnership, and initiated a strategic dialogue process to lend sustainability to therelationship. Pakistan and the US are today engaged in the cooperative effort in the fieldsof economics, trade, science and technology, energy and education. Energy is an areawhere I know Texas can be a partner with us. Our security relations continue to be thecenterpiece, and within that is our joined commitment to defeating global terrorism. Incase you don't know, terrorism is a bigger threat to Pakistan than it is to the US. This is without a doubt.Since the visit of President Bush to Pakistan, a number of delegations from the US havegone to Pakistan, and a number of delegations from Pakistan have visited the UnitedStates to add substance to the relationship. We are moving fairly briskly in the areas ofscience and technology, energy and education. The education minister of Pakistan washere last week. And he held a day of intense discussions with his counterpart, that is,Secretary Spellings. The two agreed to cooperate in a number of areas. It is my beliefthat education offers great opportunity to bring the people of Pakistan and US together.Education also offers a great opportunity and a great catalyst of getting rid of extremism in Pakistan.A positive of the new US Pakistan relationship is the presence of a mechanism toconduct a periodic review of the relationship at very senior levels. The mechanism iscalled the Strategic Dialogue, to be held alternately in Pakistan and the US. The firstDialogue was held in the United States. We are now preparing for the second Dialoguebetween your under-secretary of state, Mr. Nicholas Burns, and our Secretary of ForeignAffairs, Mr. Riaz Mohammad Khan. Hopefully, it will be held in February of next year.That will be just two months from now. This dialogue reviews the full spectrum of therelationship with the purpose of providing impetus to the relationship. I think this is avery good way to help the relationship forward.Now, a little focus on the area of business and trade. Pakistan and the US bi-lateralinvestment treaty. A lot of hard work has gone into bringing the position of the twocountries close. I finally see a silver lining: in my mind, the signing of the BIT is not anend product in itself, but it will certainly be an important stepping stone towards the finalgoal of reaching a free-trade agreement. From a Pakistani perspective, it would be betterif the BIT is signed as a component of the FDA. So we are working in that direction.Ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan has achieved economic recovery and sustainable growthas a result of financial discipline, and a consistent policy on liberalization, privatization,de-regulating of the economy. 85% of our banks are now de-regulated in the privatesector from almost 60, 70%, which were initially with the government.And at the time they were 100% with the government.Our economy, ladies and gentlemen, is now on a high growth trajectory. All naturaleconomic indicators are positive. After a GDP growth rate of over 7% in the fiscal years2004, 2005, where the economy grew by about 6.5%, and this year we are expecting agrowth rate of 7% of GDP, which is only second to China. All sectors of our economyare showing progress, including agriculture, manufacturing, and the service sector. Agrowing middle class has increased consumption of goods, including automobiles and the area of telecoms.To attract investment, Pakistan has fully liberalized its incentive framework. Today, Pakistan has themost liberal incentive climate in the world region, and I don't say this, this isacknowledged by economists globally and some of the leading magazines havementioned that. There is no limit on foreign exchange participation, free admittance offoreign exchange, including profit, technical fees, royalty and capital. The government isalso trying to improve governance, especially of those organizations that interact closelywith business. Business opportunity has never been brighter in Pakistan as it is today.Pakistan, ladies and gentlemen, is committed to continue economic reforms. This hasbeen, as I said, recognized by international agencies that ensures that Pakistan's rankinghas improved, the World Bank has said this and it's also been covered by the London Economist.For Pakistan, economic development is critical for its national security. We believe thatinternational trade and investment relations will sustain our high growth rate and aretherefore key components of Pakistan's developmental strategy. We also considerinternational economic relations necessary to economically develop, and to sustain ourhigh growth rate, which again, goes and helps in fighting extremism and terrorism. Thereare enormous opportunities for economic cooperation between our two countries. Asmentioned earlier, our economy is booming, Pakistan is importing large quantities ofcapital goods to expand and strengthen our growing industrial base.There are tremendous investment opportunities in various sectors. In case you don'tknow, more than 600 foreign companies are doing business in Pakistan today, andposting an impressive profit, and some of these are in the petrol-chemical field,particularly companies like Shell, Mobile-Exxon, although it has a small footprint BritishPetroleum and a lot of other companies which are doing prospecting in Pakistan.Pakistan is acknowledged to be the most liberalized economy in South Asia today. TheUS, I think, needs to re-discover Pakistan. The visit of President Musharraf this year tothe US, and his meeting with President Bush, has further added impetus and breadth torelations between our two countries.Two conclusions I will say. I see a new phase of Pakistan US relations. Rather thanfocus on shortened and narrow interests, the relationship is now deepening based on longterm common interests and a shared vision for the future of this world. Ladies andgentlemen, I thank you for your attention, and I'll be happy to...