Beyond Torkham border gate

Dr Muhammad Khan

In his policy statement, Sartaj Aziz, the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs said in Parliament that, Pakistan has informed the Afghan Government about the construction of Border Gate at Torkham. He further explained that, “When Afghan authorities expressed their reservations; we took them into confidence and told them that the gate is constructed inside Pakistani territory.” The most significant part of the gate is that, it aims at controlling the terrorism by restricting the movement of terrorists from either side as “unregulated movement allows infiltration of terrorists and smugglers.” Therefore, the Afghan Government should have welcomed this, rather resorting to firing which killed an Army officer and injured many more men of the security forces.
Pakistan is seriously thinking to regulate the movement of people from all crossing sites along Pak-Afghan Border in future. In last two years, the terrorists found involved in all major attacks like; APS Peshawar, Bacha Khan University, Twin Churches in Peshawar and Badabahar Air Base came through Torkham border. Then, Pakistan has all the rights to preserve its border and channelize the movement of all those, entering into its border or else exiting from it.
Afghan authorities do not allow entry of any Pakistani without proper documents and checking, how could it expect Pakistan to allow a free entry for its citizens. Then, Pakistan has all evidences of terrorist’s infiltration into its border from Afghanistan and going back after carrying out attacks. The border gate at Torkham would be helpful for Afghanistan too in controlling the illegal entry into that country. The border gate at Torkham is well within the Pakistani territories and Pakistan has the right to construct anything in its own geographical boundaries. Should a neighboring state have the right to stop any activities of its neighbors within its boundaries? This undue interference of Kabul in the affairs of Islamabad based on her ill intentions, which could be aimed at sabotaging the peace and stability of Pakistan.
Whereas, Pakistan desires peace, stability and economic prosperity of Afghanistan and good brotherly relations between two Islamic states, should Kabul think otherwise? The answer lies in a recent statement of the Foreign Office spokesperson Mr Nafees Zakaria who said that, “Afghans are being misguided.” Who misguide Afghans and what motives are behind this analogy; can be better explained from historical perspective of Pak-Afghan bilateral relationship and; the Indian factor.
It was India, which immediately after independence of Pakistan, provoked Kabul for not recognising Pakistan and claimed Pakistani territory too. Later, Kabul Kingdom continued creating the problem over Pak-Afghan border, the so-called Durand Line. Kabul even provoked and bribed some of greedy Pakistani Pakhtuns for creating a separate homeland (Pakhtunistan). However, the spirited Pakistani Pakhtun population rejects the nefarious designs of successive Afghan regimes. They are the most patriotic Pakistanis and remained steadfast even in the most trying times like the decade of 1980s and the current phase since 2001.
The reprehensible designs of Kabul against Pakistan can be well imagined from a recent statement of Hamid Karzai, a former Afghan President. He while talking to BBC said that, India has “filled Afghanistan with money despite being a poor country” and that, Pakistan is against good relationship between Kabul and New Delhi, which in turn is not acceptable to Afghanistan. It is pertinent to mention that, Pakistan is not against bilateral relationship between New Delhi and Kabul, but against sponsoring of Indian terrorism in Pakistan, while making use of Afghan soil and through its spying network; NDS.
It is worth mentioning that, there is a coalition between NDS and Indian RAW for creating instability in Pakistan through terrorism and extremism. India is indeed misguiding the Kabul regime for decades now. Afghan Government and people like Abdullah Abdullah and Hamid karzai want India to promote terrorism in Pakistan and Pakistan should remain quite over this. Indeed, the people of Afghanistan are poor, impoverish, and mostly being deceived by the self-centered rulers of Kabul. They want a close relationship with Pakistan but being betrayed and mislead.
Indeed, Pak-Afghan border is not an issue, since both countries have lived together for almost seven decades now. Even people like Karzai accept that, it is just an ‘inheritance of imperialism’ having no international implication and both countries can solve it bilaterally. The issue is being kept alive by India through its paid Kabul guards for blaming Pakistan or else to continue creating a rift between Islamabad and Kabul. Had there been some foresight and astuteness in Afghan rulers, such provocative foreign dictates could have been set-aside long ago.
In the contemporary global politics, United States and India have convergence of interests over the regional and global issues. In the new Great Game, Asia is being seen as the new hub of power struggle for either the survival of current super power or else the rise of new powerhouse (s). Besides a resurgent Russia, China is rapidly rising as the peer competitor for the US both in Asia and at the global level outside Asia. As a strategic partner and deep-rooted Chinese friend, Pakistan is being pressurized because of non-issues and despite its unmatched contributions and sacrifices.
Pak-Afghan border is not an issue, but Indian stronghold over Kabul for destabilising Pakistan is the real issue. Above all, the Washington-New Delhi nexus through Kabul is the new emerging threat for the regional peace and stability and Pakistan is the immediate and direct sufferer. This emerging situation needs a careful handling and a well thought-out forward planning. Torkham Border Gate and Haqqanis are excuses, the real demands are submission to US and Indian dictates and renouncing its strong linkages with China including the CPEC. Should Pakistan compromise its national interests? The need of hour is national unity and an aware and responsible political leadership.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.

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