Sustained dialogue, the way forward


IT was after a long lull that top leadership of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, held one-on-one meeting in Turkmenistan on the sidelines of international conference on Sustainable Transport. According to reports both the leaders discussed regional situation and PM Nawaz Sharif reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to Afghan peace and stability.
Over the last many months, Pak-Afghan relations have been marred by mistrust, acrimony and blame game on different issues particularly relating to security and trade. Whilst Pakistan has always showed its utmost sincerity to develop strong bonds with Afghanistan and facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process, the other side has always cast aspersions on these efforts. Under the visible Indian tentacles, which aspire to become a regional power, the Afghan president has repeatedly been seen using tough and harsh language against Pakistan — thus negating the cause of promoting peace and tranquillity in the region. Both the countries share economic and security interests and they need to work collectively and closely to address their concerns on all critical issues. This is only possible if the top leadership of two countries engage with each other more frequently as turning the back would not serve any purpose but further complicate the matters and allow peace detractors to exploit the situation. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his visit to Islamabad had emphasised the need for improved Pak-Afghan relations and rightly pointed out that a rift is being created in relations between the two countries. We expect the Afghan side would pay heed to these remarks and hope that Turkmenistan meeting would bring the two countries again to some sustainable and unbreakable process of negotiations to end existing mistrust and help normalise the relations.