Pak-Afghan talks

69

IN recent weeks, both Pakistan and Afghanistan have been seen sitting across each other in a bid to bridging their differences on security related issues. Though the latest round of talks concluded in Islamabad on Saturday is reported to have failed to make any headway on the key element of Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, yet we expect this will not dampen the spirits rather both the sides will take forward the process of talks with full vigour in order to remove their existing misunderstandings in relations and agree to a joint mechanism for addressing security related issues.
In fact Pakistan has repeatedly expressed its resolve for peace and security in the war-torn neighbouring country. In line with its commitment, it proposed Afghan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity- a blueprint for engagement on critical issues including counter-terrorism and reduction of violence, peace and reconciliation, refugees’ repatriation and joint economic development. The negotiations on this blue print were first held in Kabul last week and because of its positive outcome, both the sides once again gathered in Islamabad to discuss the issues that have been souring the ties. Though the second round failed to produce any results, we expect that the two sides will not allow the disagreements that came up in the meeting to break up the talks. Rather they need to engage more persistently in order to address each other’s genuine concerns and apprehensions by adopting a flexible approach. Turning the back will not help but further complicate the matters and provide room to the enemy to exploit the situation to its advantage. Instead of blame game at the behest of our arch enemy, the Afghan side will have to demonstrate seriousness and reciprocate to Pakistan’s efforts aimed at ensuring better border management – something which is vital to stop cross border movement of undesirable elements. After decades of sufferings, the Afghan people deserve lasting peace but this will remain elusive until the Afghan government takes the matter into its hands and demonstrates the real intent of engaging with warring factions especially the Taliban.