FOR the first time in many years, Pakistan has adopted a clear cut policy on Afghanistan that truly reflects the national consensus on the issue and has the prospects of safeguarding fundamental national interests.
In his article published in the Washington Post, Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted different aspects of this policy in a candid manner and strict adherence to the policy would, hopefully, bring positive results in the long run.
Despite repeated pronouncements by all concerned that Pakistan would not grant permission for establishment of the US military bases in the country following withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, there are indications that the US was keen to have one on the pretext of monitoring activities of the terrorists and extremists both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In this backdrop, the Prime Minister categorically stated that Pakistan was ready to be a partner for peace in Afghanistan with the United States — but as US troops withdraw, the country will avoid risking further conflict.
He pointed out that in the past, Pakistan made a mistake by choosing between warring Afghan parties, but it has learned from that experience.
It has no favourites and will work with any government that enjoys the confidence of the Afghan people as history proves that Afghanistan can never be controlled from the outside.
In fact, keeping in view the fallout of the Afghan situation on their national interests, different countries of the region and beyond supported their favourites as has also been revealed in the latest reports that India funded, trained and armed the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.
But events in Afghanistan have proved that the policy of supporting favourites did not succeed and there is now a near consensus on the sharing of power by all segments of Afghan society.
Most of the regional and global powers, with the exception of India, are contributing their share for realization of this cherished objective and the future of Afghanistan hinges on the outcome of these efforts.
Pakistan has demonstrated its sincerity for peace in Afghanistan and a just political settlement by announcing that it has no favourites and would work with any Government that emerges as a result of intra-Afghan dialogue.
As for military bases, the Prime Minister has exploded the rationale being offered by the United States for the purpose by reminding Washington that if it couldn’t win the war from inside Afghanistan after 20 years, how America would do it from bases in our country.
He also legitimately warned that if Pakistan were to agree to host US bases, from which to bomb Afghanistan and an Afghan civil war ensued, Pakistan would be targeted for revenge by terrorists again.
In view of what the Prime Minister has stated in black and white, the world community should focus on spoilers of peace efforts and not on those whose peace credentials are beyond any doubt.