India undermines HoA process

WHAT India did in Amritsar is yet another testimony to the fact that New Delhi has scant respect for regional peace processes or cooperation and instead pursues its own nefarious agenda of dictating terms to regional countries. The undermining of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process, aimed at promoting prospects of peace in war-torn Afghanistan, has also exposed Indian claims about its friendship and sincerity for Afghanistan. The conference also proved that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is a puppet who is more than willing to dance on Modi’s tunes to camouflage his domestic failures.
There was a logical opinion in the country that Pakistan should not attend the Heart of Asia Conference because of India’s unrelenting aggressive posture against the country but decision-makers opted otherwise only because the moot was about Afghanistan and Pakistan, which always supported peace and stability there, wanted to contribute its share further by participating in the conference in Amritsar. This was despite the fact that India also spurned Pakistan’s desire and offer to have bilateral talks so as to reduce the on-going tension between the countries. Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz made a friendly and positive speech but regrettably both India and Afghanistan not only levelled direct and baseless allegations against Pakistan but New Delhi went a step further in preventing Aziz from addressing a press conference, an act that goes against all norms of diplomacy and eastern traditions of hospitality. Similar treatment was also meted out to Pakistan High Commissioner when members of Pakistan media team wanted to talk to him. It is now quite obvious that policy of appeasement being followed by Pakistan policy-makers is not paying and instead harming overall image and prestige of the country. Even if participation in Heart of Asia was important to lend further credibility to Pakistan’s firm resolve to see peace in the neighbouring country it is beyond comprehension as to why Sartaj Aziz dashed to Amritsar through a special flight a day earlier just to attend the dinner. Both India and Afghanistan are colluding in maligning Pakistan and they have been misusing regional platforms for the purpose. Pakistan should have prepared fully to counter their policy of levelling baseless allegations. In the first place, the process was about peace in Afghanistan and the objective can only be achieved if all countries extend cooperation for the purpose. One fails to understand how this objective can be achieved without cooperation of Pakistan against whom all sorts of allegations are being hurled by New Delhi and Kabul. Pakistan has gone extra mile in convincing Taliban to be part of negotiating table and has taken action against all terrorist groups whether they are engaged in activities against Pakistan or any other country. As against this, both TTP and Jamat-ul-Ahrar, which are known for carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan, are being harboured by Afghanistan and India. What Kabul has done to prevent these groups from misusing its soil? Similarly, India is openly interfering in internal affairs of Pakistan, RAW is engaged in terrorist and subversive activities in Balochistan, Karachi and public statements have been made to thwart CPEC, which is purely an economic project. The question arises as to why Pakistan is not taking up these issues with required emphasis with India and Afghanistan. There should not be double standards on the issue of terrorism and state terrorism by India and Afghanistan should also be taken up at all forums and during bilateral engagements. No saner element can plead for raising tension either with India or Afghanistan but there should be clear red lines. This is, however, satisfying that declaration of the Heart of Asia Conference, held in Amritsar, was balanced as it mentioned those terrorist groups as well that are being patronised by Afghanistan and India. The conference also recognised Pakistan’s hosting of millions of Afghan refugees for over three decades and echoed concerns of Pakistan by urging the international community to provide assistance to the country for the purpose. It is also worth mentioning that Russian representative welcomed Sartaj Aziz’ friendly and constructive speech and rejected criticism of Pakistan by Modi and Ashraf Ghani. We hope that apart from re-assessing its policy of appeasement towards India, PML (N) govt would adopt a proactive diplomatic approach to appraise other regional countries and world powers of ground realities.

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