AT long last, Pakistan’s peace credentials are being acknowledged by a majority of the international community – thanks to a change in its Afghan policy and the role it plays to seek a peaceful settlement of the long-drawn conflict in the neighbouring country.
Apart from a number of global civil and military leaders who appreciate Pakistan for its successful war against terror that has contributed significantly to the cause of regional and global peace, a latest credible report by NATO on different issues related to Afghanistan following announcement of withdrawal of troops by the United States acknowledged that Pakistan wants a peace deal in Afghanistan.
The findings and assessment of the report by NATO Defence College assume greater significance as these comprehensively negate propaganda by some vested interests that keep on pointing out accusing fingers towards Pakistan on the issue of terrorism and its role in Afghanistan in their attempts to portray Pakistan as part of the problem.
However, the report clearly states that Pakistan is not a trouble-maker but a facilitator as far as restoration of peace and security in Afghanistan is concerned.
The paper says that regional powers agree that the conflict must be resolved through a political process; most advocate some form of power sharing with the Taliban but do not want a full Taliban takeover.
The report says that Pakistan accepts that Taliban would have a significant role, but in coalition with other political forces; Russia – and probably China – also support replacing Ashraf Ghani with a more inclusive interim government in which the Taliban play a role.
It also fully appreciates Islamabad’s relevance and role in Afghanistan saying two decades on from the events of 9/11 and a prolonged war, Pakistan stands out as the most influential regional actor, by virtue of its cultural, historical and economic ties with Afghanistan, and its long association with the Taliban.
It is a matter of pride for people of Pakistan that the strategy of the country and its diplomatic efforts have started bearing fruits as almost all influential players and regional countries now subscribe to Islamabad’s long-held belief that there was no military solution to the conflict and that only a political settlement can guarantee durable peace and security in Afghanistan and the region.
The conclusions of the report also expose India’s designs and intentions, confirming Pakistan’s viewpoint that New Delhi was acting as a spoiler of peace in Afghanistan.
The report says there is broad acknowledgement that only a political agreement can resolve the conflict, and most regional powers – with the notable exception of India – believe that any peace deal will only be viable if it involves a share of power for the Taliban.
It is because of its negative role driven mainly by India’s rivalry against Pakistan that New Delhi stands almost marginalized as far as diplomatic efforts for restoration of peace in Afghanistan are concerned.
This is despite New Delhi’s politically motivated development projects in the war-torn country, misuse of its soil against Pakistan and attempts made to cultivate Washington to assign it a job once foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
As against this, Pakistan’s sincere efforts aimed at preventing bloodshed and seeking a negotiated solution have earned it appreciation of the international community.
The findings of the NATO report also belie false propaganda by some elements in Afghan Government that continue to make attempts to malign Pakistan alleging Islamabad of still supporting the Taliban.
This propaganda stands rebutted by the neutral report as it said no regional power – including Pakistan – wants a return of the Taliban to a complete monopoly of power.
It says Pakistan accepts that Taliban would have a significant role, but in coalition with other political forces; Russia – and probably China – also support replacing Ashraf Ghani with a more inclusive interim government in which the Taliban play a role.
All this is not without a reason as Pakistan consistently did what it could to persuade Taliban for talks both with the United States and Kabul Government culminating in Doha accords for peace.
It is still working hard to prevent chaos in Afghanistan after withdrawal of foreign troops and success of intra-Afghan dialogue as it firmly believes events in Afghanistan will impact upon its desire to accelerate the pace of socio-economic progress of its own people.
Apart from the NATO report, Turkish assurance to Afghanistan (conveyed by Ankara’s Ambassador to Kabul Cihad Erginay during a meeting with Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar on Thursday) of Pakistan’s continued support for peace is also an acknowledgement of the country’s peace credentials.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner too acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for peace and stability in the region in a meeting with Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday.
We hope that with the support of the just minded members of the international community, attempts being made by Pakistan and other players for restoration of durable peace in Afghanistan would succeed, affording an opportunity to its people to move towards the path of progress and prosperity.
The task is daunting as elements like Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib are conspiring to spoil the atmosphere for talks but as indicated by NATO report the Afghan regime stands isolated on diplomatic front because of its self-centred approach to the peace process.