Afghanistan must reciprocate | By Zaheer Bhatti


Afghanistan must reciprocate

WHILE urging world conscience to rise to the occasion and respond in aid to war-ravaged Afghanistan; a travesty of truth and justice inflicted upon the Afghan nation by miscalculations and misinformation of the West spearheaded by the US, and saying that the US has always used Pakistan and ditched it when the purpose is served, Pakistan’s Prime Minister has boldly endorsed what is coming to be gradually acknowledged worldwide, and something this scribe has been saying in his columns and write-ups since 9/11.

Might one add to it by going right back to where this opportunistic love-hate relationship started in the fifties last Century; when Pakistan made the cardinal mistake of romancing with the US several thousand kilometres away in preference to neighbouring (former) Soviet Union and allowing it to use of its base in launching the American U2 against the Soviet Union which it antagonized resulting in its embrace of India in reaction.

The very first American ditching took place in 1965 when India staged a sneak attack across Pakistan in the thick of the night in the hope of capturing Lahore and bringing it to its knees.

That they were rudely shocked to suffer heavily at the hands of the Pakistan Air Force and Land Forces; a humiliation they took out in conspiring to sever Pakistan’s Eastern Wing by raising and using Mukti Bahini in 1971 when Pakistan received no support from the US on both occasions despite being part of the much touted defence pacts such as SEATO and CENTO.

Pakistan instead went on to facilitate the historic ice-breaking between the US and People’s Republic of China by arranging Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to Beijing, and then aiding the US against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; only to encounter its abandoning trait twice in the process.

But Imran Khan referring to the US not learning from Afghan history and repeating their mistake fits Pakistan most appropriately, because despite being stung by the US time and again, it refused to learn and rethink its alignments until recently, making clear that it will no longer serve one camp or the other particularly after joining the well-meaning Chinese Belt and Road global initiative aimed at mutual economic uplift and development, and putting CPEC into practice at no cost to anyone.

It has also at the same time shunned any prospects of a cold war situation yet again; this time between the US and China, and offered its good offices for rapprochement among them to engage in healthy competition only for excellence and goodwill rather than confrontation.

Barring one odd setback which Gen Musharraf’s alignment with the US post 9/11 delivered to Pakistan’s relationship with neighbouring Afghanistan whose Taliban-led Government Pakistan was among the first to recognize besides Saudi Arabia and the UAE after the Soviet withdrawal, Pakistan has been bending backwards in supporting and backing an Afghan-led Afghan-owned inclusive Government in Afghanistan without any external interference and hosted an OIC extra-ordinary Islamic Foreign Ministers moot urging global response for economic assistance to the war-battered country; thereby making up for its solitary blunder yielding far more space to the allied NATO forces than they had asked for as later revealed by Colin Powel, the then Secretary of State.

But it is tragic that the Islamic world is thoroughly disunited within and among themselves, with the Imperial West successfully drawing cleavages, making inroads among them and pitching them against each other; through chartered mercenaries styled as protectors of Islam and countries they hold hostage economically, besides affluent Muslim leadership serving as their lackeys to the detriment of the followers of the Islamic faith which upholds universal justice, equality and rancour to none.

In this backdrop, it is regrettable and painful to encounter an increasing wave of terrorism being carried out from the Afghan soil against Pakistan ever since withdrawal of the allied forces from Afghanistan despite categorical assurances from the current Taliban leadership in Afghanistan that their soil would not be allowed to be used against any country including specifically Pakistan.

That the mercenary outfits Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and Baluchistan Liberation Army supported by Indian RAW and Afghan NDS had both been carrying out unabated terrorist attacks on Pakistan’s security forces and claimed responsibility.

It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon the Afghan Government to translate their commitment into action and either force the TTP and BLA not to use their soil against Pakistan, deny them any safe havens on their soil and assistance from NDS, or allow Pakistan to carry out attacks against their hideouts in their country, besides scrutinizing the NDS role.

It needs to be reiterated at the cost of repetition that Pakistan has selflessly done for Afghanistan far more than the rest of the world put together, except the US and their Allies pumping in money in pure self-interest seeking to transform the Afghan Society and install its lackey leadership which it attempted twice but failed; ending up quitting in the face of unparalleled resistance from the fiercely independent Afghan natives who have re-established their invincibility on the score of self-belief, faith and dependence on the Almighty alone.

Pakistan has being playing host to over 3 million Afghan refugees now having multiplied to over 5 million for over 4 decades now as a result; firstly during the Soviet invasion and then the NATO assault; allowing them to settle across the entire Pakistani land mass as a goodwill gesture and partake a sizeable chunk of business and trading of the Country in the process, as against Iran which had restricted their movement and settlement to about 10 kilometres within their borders, and providing trade route to the land-locked Country ever since Independence without which Afghanistan would have been starved to extinction; and last but not the least assisting in bringing the Afghan Taliban and the US on the negotiating table besides making an intra-Afghan dialogue possible between the Afghan Taliban and the American installed puppet regime hitherto viewed as traitors of the nation by the Taliban.

The Afghan Taliban Government would do well to avail the opportunity, reciprocate and ensure elimination of safe havens being still enjoyed by the TTP, Daesh and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement ISIS orchestrating from Afghan soil into Pakistan and China’s Xinxiang Province, which would expedite their recognition by its neighbourhood; waiting to do so to start with.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.


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