Pakistan as peace promoter
PAKISTAN is a peace loving country, strictly believes and pursuing policy of peaceful co-existence with all countries particularly the neighbours, is committed to have friendly cordial relations with all and enmity towards none.
Pakistan’s commitment in the region and also to the world over is also manifested through its major contribution to the UN Peace Missions efforts in strife and war-torn countries in parts of the globe.
Afghanistan is an important immediate neighbour having its borders in the east and south with Pakistan and uses the sea route via Pakistan. Afghanistan has been suffering from war since the 1970s.
fter the brutalities of the civil war, foreign invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979 and US in 2001 following 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York have resulted in destruction everywhere in Afghanistan and killed thousands of innocent Afghans.
Great powers obviously came to Afghanistan one after the other apparently to crush the roots of religious extremism, drug trafficking, terrorism and smuggling.
Somehow, Pakistan did not enjoy cordial relations with its western neighbour Afghanistan.
Pakistan has suffered the most due to wars and instability in Afghanistan and has lost billions of dollars and thousands of people including men, women and children besides defence forces and security agencies personnel over the years in the war on terror started by the USA.
Pakistan is supporting the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan and making sincere, dedicated and committed efforts in convincing all stakeholders to sit at the table, talk and resolves differences and issues and trying to ensure stability in the country.
As a result of persistent efforts of Pakistan at all levels the Taliban and USA have signed a peace deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 to end the longest war in the history of USA.
Pakistan has played a positive and constructive role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table with the USA.
This important contribution of Pakistan is being appreciated by all stakeholders particularly the US top leadership and also the world at large and keeping their fingers crossed and praying that things keep moving in the right direction and the desired objectives of peace in war-torn Afghanistan are achieved as early as possible.
US President Joe Biden has already announced to withdraw troops stationed in Afghanistan from May and to complete the withdrawal process by 11 September 2021 — the 9/11 of 2001 terrorist attacks had started the longest war and 9/11 of 2021 troops withdrawals will mark culmination of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamjar Javed Bajwa have time and time been advocating, supporting and stressing on the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while addressing the 9th Heart of Asia –Istanbul process sometime back had stated “No other nation could claim to have such immutable bonds with Afghanistan and thus be more desirous of peace in Afghanistan than Pakistan”.
While appreciating Pakistan’s positive contribution towards Afghan peace process, there have been hostile remark oblige voices raised occasionally by US leadership.
Former US President Donald Trump had been continuously blaming Pakistan for directly and indirectly supporting terrorist organizations.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had responded very hard by emphatically saying the USA cannot blame Pakistan for its failure in Afghanistan as over 100000 NATO soldiers over 250000 Afghan soldiers and spending of over one trillion dollars the USA could not win war in Afghanistan.
The Army Chief also hit hard against the allegation by emphatically stating that Pakistan has done a lot to bring peace in Afghanistan, has suffered due to the Afghan war more than any other country.
Needless to point out that a peaceful Afghanistan is very important for bringing stability in the region.
Pakistan is the most affected neighbour from the longevity of the Afghan war which neither in favour of the whole region nor the world powers at large.
Peace in Afghanistan can promote the transit trade through Central Asia, Chinese great game changers in the region like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and One Belt One Road provide the facility to Beijing, Islamabad, Kabul and Central Asia Republics of transit trade but it will only happen if peace returns to Afghanistan.
Pakistan has played its vital role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiation table for signing a peace and also been stressing on the Afghan government and USA to keep an eye on the spoilers to ensue things keep moving forward as the dialogue is the only meaningful solution to end the war in Afghanistan.
India has its interests at stake in Afghanistan, a stable Afghan-Pakistan border is against the Indian interests.
Pakistan, genuinely worried about Indian influence in Afghanistan, has pointed out RAW’s involvement in Pakistan a number of times but the Afghan government has not been giving any positive response.
And, it is also worth mentioning here that Pakistan has been hosting the largest number of Afghan refugees for decades together who had fled Afghanistan in the wake of the (former) Soviet Union invasion.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has time and again praised Pakistan for playing host to large number of Afghan refugees for such a long period. Pakistan is still hosting more than three million Afghan refugees.
If peace returns to Afghanistan, Pakistan will obviously be the biggest beneficiary as peace and stability in Afghanistan will greatly contribute towards overall peace and stability not only in Pakistan but also the region all over.
Pakistan has been continuously playing a positive and constructive role for bringing stability to Afghanistan.
It is a matter of record that Pakistan has tried a number of times to establish cordial relations with Afghanistan but there has been no positive response from its western neighbour.
In conclusion, it is high time that peace is given a chance in Afghanistan through all Afghan-led and Afghan-owned solution, the Afghan elite make sacrifices for the two decades long war-hit people of Afghanistan and one man show cannot be suitable for durable peace in Afghanistan.
There is a lot more to write about Afghanistan, which has 34 provinces and more than 400 districts, and is known as the graveyard of empires.
The Soviet Union had disintegrated following its invasion of Afghanistan and now the US is currently facing down internal fissures and cultural and economic divides of its own. All this will be dilated upon some other time, please.
—The writer s Lahore-based senior journalist and retired Deputy Controller (News), Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.