NEWS & VIEWS
SINCE Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is in the saddle, National Security Committee (NSC) meetings are being held regularly to review internal and external security issues. The NSC is the top civil-military coordination forum on security and foreign policy issues, and both civil and military leadership are on one page in this regard. On Wednesday, NSC meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister. Expressing serious concerns over the anti-state elements and their collaboration with foreign intelligence agencies to destabilise Pakistan, the National Security Committee vowed to uphold the internal and external security of the country and fight out these elements. There was consensus on providing increased resources to Balochistan and developing cooperative implementation mechanism for development projects to ensure more efficiency and transparency so that the benefits accrue to the people of Balochistan at grass root level.
The committee affirmed that the thrust of federal government policy shall be to collaborate more deeply with the Government of Balochistan for the rapid socio-economic development of the province. The meeting condemned the recent attacks on the Pakistan Army post at Bajaur Agency and police officials in Quetta. It is now an open secret that RAW-NDS-CIA nexus is active not only in FATA and Balochistan but also in other provinces. The other day, speaking at a conference organized by IPRI, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mehmood Hayat said: “Enduring peace could be achieved in South Asia only through resolution of the Kashmir dispute…India is committing atrocities in occupied Kashmir, and 7700 people have lost their eyesight due to use of pellet guns by Indian forces.” There have also been 1200 ceasefire violations at LoC this year, which is highest in last ten years.
India had tried to roil relations between Pakistan and Iran so that Pakistan is encircled from three of its borders. India and Iran have common business interests, and the former has helped Iran in development of Chahbahar seaport. Yet Iran would not allow India to use its consulates against Pakistan as Afghanistan has done since Iran’s leadership is bold and has support of the entire nation. COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent visit to Iran has been fruitful. General Bajwa held delegation-level talks with his Iranian counterparts and also held a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. The talks focused on issues related to the geo-strategic environment, the Afghan situation, the growing threat of Daesh in the region and security along the shared border between the two countries. Army chief said that Iran and Pakistan are brotherly countries bound by religion, culture and shared values.
During his two tenures as president, Hamid Karzai was complicit to foreign agencies’ vile activities against Pakistan, and he had allowed every inimical alien agency to set up shop in Afghanistan to work against Pakistan. RAW is there; CIA is there; Mossad is there, not to mention Afghan intelligence apparatus colluding in every manner with them to destabilize Pakistan. They have been spawning, nurturing, funding and arming their proxies in our tribal region. There was change in Afghan policy after Dr. Ashraf Ghani was elected as president, but he buckled under pressure from the US and India and started blaming Pakistan for the situation in Afghanistan. However, it is in the interest of Afghan leadership to review its policies, and try to remove deep suspicions in the minds of the people in Pakistan by maintaining a balanced approach in relationship with other countries vis-a-vis India.
Pakistan was indeed annoyed when Afghanistan followed India to boycott the SAARC Summit that was scheduled to be held in November last year. Government of Pakistan and people of Pakistan were also upset over the remarks of President Ashraf Ghani in Amritsar in December 2016, in which he publicly rejected Pakistan’s offer of 500-million dollars assistance. Pakistanis were also shocked when Kabul refused to attend the ECO summit in Islamabad at highest level on March 1 despite representation of nine members at the head of state and government level. Pakistan has always stood by the people of Afghanistan, whereas Afghan rulers always created problems for Pakistan wittingly or unwittingly.
It is not in good taste to remind or recount the favors done to friends or neighbors, but despite Pakistan’s sacrifices, Afghan rulers who today enjoy power and all perks and privileges spew venom against Pakistan and blame Pakistan for all their failures. Pakistan have hosted millions of refugees, and earlier helped Afghanistan in getting rid of foreign occupiers. Afghan leadership is being misguided; and it is mistaken in thinking that Pakistan can force Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table with Kabul. In fact, anyone who held meetings with the Taliban including China, failed to convince the outfit to join the intra-Afghan dialogue. In fact, the US and NATO forces had failed to defeat the Taliban, and their military top brass and political leaderships are not willing to accept that defeat.
To add to their woes, Afghan forces are not ready to hold the fort. Even in Afghanistan’s north, which is considered relatively peaceful, the Taliban fighters are carrying out attacks with impunity. Anyhow, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah can show magnanimity and bring the Taliban on board to avert civil war. If they don’t do it, the end result could be disintegration of Afghanistan, as other regional players would jump into the fray and take their positions. It is, therefore, in the interest of all ethnic groups to find a common ground for power-sharing to make Afghanistan peaceful, stable and sovereign.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
NEWS & VIEWS