Peace with Afghanistan and India

Malik M Ashraf

CONCEPTUALLY and from the perspective of attaining a lasting peace in the region and setting into motion the process of shared economic prosperity, the peaceful neighbourhood policy being pursued by the present government is a visionary move. But it is regrettable to note that the overtures made by Pakistan to orchestrate bonhomie with Afghanistan and mending fences with India have not been reciprocated.
The two countries seem to have formed an alliance against Pakistan and the nexus between the Afghan intelligence agency NDS and RAW to foment terrorism within Pakistan is now a proven fact, as revealed by Ehsan Ullah Ehsan the former spokesman of the TTP who has surrendered to the Pakistani authorities. The unprovoked firing at the Chaman border by the Afghan forces which killed 11 people and injured scores of them was yet another manifestation of the hostility that Afghan government harbours against Pakistan, though at the end of the day it were Afghan forces which had to endure greater losses as a consequence of the retaliatory offensive by Pakistan forces. The tension still continues.
Indian disposition towards Pakistan steeped in ever burgeoning animosity, its intransigence to remove the irritants that bedevil relations between the two countries including the core issue of Kashmir and involvement in fomenting insurgency in Balochistan and acts of terrorism within Pakistan through its agents pose credible security threat to Pakistan. Consequently it has perforce to take steps for defending its sovereignty and protecting its independence. Pakistan opted to go nuclear in view of India attaining the nuclear capability threatening its security. Similarly it had to embark upon the missile programme to counter the Indian doctrine of ‘cold start’ which is Pakistan specific. Pakistan as a sovereign state has the right to do everything that it possibly can to ward off threats to its security.
The Modi government in India is not letting go any opportunity to raise the bar of enmity with Pakistan. It has been crying hoarse from every convenient roof-top to malign and isolate Pakistan holding it responsible for acts of terrorism in India whereas the truth is that India herself is involved in sponsoring acts of terrorism within Pakistan on which dossiers have been presented to US and UN Secretary General and other capitals are also being sensitized on the issue. In the wake of the re-emergence of freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir India even stag-managed incidents like Uri to divert the attention of world community from the atrocities that its security forces were committing in the valley. But all her evil machinations have failed to subdue uprising in occupied Kashmir. The people of occupied Kashmir have repeatedly given a strong message through their sacrifices and rebellion against Indian occupation that they would not settle on anything less than the exercise of their right of self-determination.
The people of occupied Kashmir boycotted the sham by-elections on the call of the Hurriyet Conference and reportedly the turnout was merely 5%. India must read the writing on the wall. The saner voices in India and the former Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir Farooq Abdullah categorically acknowledged that the situation in the valley was very precarious and there was no way out of the quagmire other than talking to Pakistan. Sooner this realization sinks in the minds of the Indian leadership the better it would be for India, Pakistan, people of Kashmir and the entire region.
The Afghan government also has to realize that Pakistan was indispensible for the success of any peace effort in Afghanistan and vice verse. Pakistan has been making relentless efforts to promote Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation in Afghanistan but unfortunately the Afghan leadership has always looked askance at these efforts. The ambience of mistrust must make way for mutual cooperation to fight the common enemy i.e. terrorism. Conniving with India to harm Pakistan will ultimately harm Afghanistan and jeopardize the peace and security of the entire region. Under the prevailing circumstances resolution of the disputes between Pakistan and India and between Pakistan and Afghanistan can only be achieved through intervention by the international community, more so by the US if they really want peace in the region.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.

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