Mr Khurshid Mahmud KasuriFormer Foreign Minister of Pakistan
Mr Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri is former Foreign Minister of Pakistan as well as a former caretaker Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. His family played a leading role against British colonial rule in the sub-continent. His father Mahmud Ali Kasuri, a former Law Minister, considered one of the framers of the 1973 Constitution, was known as the father of human rights movement in Pakistan. He resigned as Law Minister and as Senior Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party after serious differences with Mr. Bhutto on political and constitutional issues. He was the only South Asian invited by Lord Bertrand Russell to serve on the Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal.
Khurshid Kasuri after toping the B.A (Hons) examination of the Punjab University, proceeded to Cambridge University where he did his Law tripos. He then went to Oxford University as a post graduate student in Public Administration and Political Science. He was called to the Bar from Gray’s Inn London. He started his political career with the Tehreek-e-Istaqlal (TI) led by Air-Marshal Muhammad Asghar Khan. The TI was then the main opposition party. He rose to be its Secretary General. He was also elected as the Secretary General of the main opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Alliance in 1993. He went to prison on several occasions when Mr. Bhutto and General Zia ulHaq were in power for his opposition to both.
He was elected to the National Assembly in 1997 and 2002. He was elected as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Information and Media Development. He staunchly opposed the 15th Amendment to the Constitution (‘Shariat Bill’) during the Prime Ministership of Mian Nawaz Sharif. He resigned from membership of the National Assembly as a mark of protest against the 15th Amendment, saying that if passed in its original form, it would negate Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s pluralistic and progressive vision of Pakistan. The resignation was, however, torn by other members in a stormy meeting of the Parliamentary Party. As revealed in his book, he also opposed Proclamation of Emergency of Nov 3rd, 2007 by General Musharraf and sent his resignation as Foreign Minister.
He was Foreign Minister from 2002-2007. This was an eventful period following 9/11 when Pakistan through a proactive engagement with the international community tried to meet the challenges posed by the Afghan situation. Despite the strong differences with the United States over the attack on Iraq and opposition to the threat of use of force against Iran over its nuclear programme as well as pursuing the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, Pakistan upgraded its existing relationship with the US under the Strategic Partnership Agreement. As a result, cooperation was extended to spheres beyond defence, and ranged from education, science technology and energy.
Relations with China were qualitatively upgraded leading to enhanced economic, defence and civil nuclear technology cooperation. During his tenure, Pakistan and China signed, inter alia, a Five-Year Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, as well as the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighbourly Relations in Islamabad on April 2005. He took active interest in helping institute youth and cultural exchange programmes between the two countries. Major defense cooperation took place in the development of JF-17 aircraft, Al-Khalid tank and F-22P frigates. Pakistan’s relationship with the European Union was effectively upgraded by the ratification of the Third Generation Agreement. Khurshid Kasuri took an active part in improving relations with India. It’s now generally accepted that major improvement in relations took place as a result of the peace process conducted under the Composite Dialogue as well as on the backchannel on Kashmir. His version in his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ is, therefore, an authoritative insider’s account of the important developments in foreign policy that took place at that time as well as how the details of the framework of a possible settlement on Kashmir slowly evolved between Pakistan and India and could still provide a way forward for sustainable peace between the two countries.
He is also the author of ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove’ published by OUP worldwide and by Penguin Publishers in India which has been launched in major cities of Pakistan, India and Britain.