It is difficult to avoid a bullet from one’s brother,’ someone said commenting upon the martyrdom of Major Ali Jawad Changaizi at Torkham border. The reason behind the clash between the security forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan at Torkham was that Pakistan attempted to erect a gate on the Torkham border to put a check on the infiltration of fighters from the Afghani side. Erection of a gate on Torkham border is not a new idea; Pakistan has since long been trying to convince the Afghan government on building of such check-point but Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts in this regard proved futile.
Every time Afghanistan opposed the idea of fencing the border and building of a gate there by saying that it does not recognize the claimed boundary as a legitimate dividing line. In such a non-cooperative atmosphere Pakistan was left with just one option; to build a gate without waiting for the consent from Afghanistan because it was the only solution to keep a check on the people crossing the border and coming to Pakistan. When Pakistan started the construction of an entrance on its own side, the Afghan security forces deployed there started unprovoked firing which ended in grave loss of lives on both the sides. Ultimately the Torkham crossing point had to be closed. The border had remained closed for five days even during the last month but was reopened after a meeting between the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff.
The New York Times said reporting on the issue, ‘Zarawar Zahid, the police chief of Nangarhar Province, on the Afghan side of the crossing, posted a video on Facebook saying that he was near the front line and ordering a mortar barrage against Pakistan. He appears next to two mortars shouting to his men, “Strike hard enough to blow up Nawaz Sharif’s home,” referring to the Prime Minister of Pakistan who lives in Islamabad, the capital, 150 miles from the border.’ How funny and ridiculous is the statement of Zarawar Zahid, ‘Strike hard enough to blow up Nawaz Sharif’s home’. The Afghan forces wanted to blow up the home of the Prime Minister of a country which has been feeding more than 2.7 million Afghan refugees for the last thirty years. It is alarming; really alarming; Pakistan will have to revisit its relationship with Afghanistan.
The ever-worst law and order situation, the political and economic instability and NATO forces’ intention of never going back has certainly turned Afghanistan into a land of never-ending war. Moreover, day by day increasing interference of India and US’ efforts of strengthening India’s steps on Afghan land have made situation more complex and complicated. As far as Pakistan is concerned, it has been doing all it could do for betterment, progress and prosperity of Afghanistan for last many decades.
Pakistan, in spite of its countless economic, social and security issues has always helped Afghanistan at every critical juncture. Just cast a look at the past; Pakistan has been providing special support and facilities to the Afghan students in almost all of its universities and institutions. Pakistani doctors have been assisting the Afghan government in the field of medicine and surgery; Pakistani traders have been investing a lot there in Afghanistan. Pakistan has provided a lot of transport facilities to those who were interested in importing goods to Afghanistan and above all Pakistan has been hosting a huge ‘army’ of Afghan refugees for the last thirty years. Though all these favours and supports have been widely acknowledged by the Afghan people but unfortunately the Afghan government, be it the tenure of President Karzai or of President Ashraf Ghani, never admitted the services of Pakistan.
It always tried to blame and defame Pakistan. The recent clashes on the Torkham border are the worst example of their thanklessness. How stupid is idea that Afghanistan wants Pakistan keep its doors open for terrorists and mischief-makers. How illogical is the concept that you want to enter a neighbouring house without asking for permission. Is there any country which allows open-access to every Tom, Dick and Harry into its territorial boundaries; certainly not. Everywhere you need permission in the form of visa. If Pakistan is establishing a check in point in shape of a gate; it is no sin, no crime.
Keeping in view the present scenario, the government of Pakistan must establish a strict check and balance system for all those who desire to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan. And the second most important thing is that all Afghan refugees must be pushed back to Afghanistan, even by using force if they resist. These refugees are a huge burden on Pakistan, financially, socially and administratively. As far as the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan’s betterment is concerned, Pakistan must let the people of Afghanistan do it themselves. The Afghans are not a weak nation. History is an eye-witness to their bravery and determination. Let them liberate their country from the foreign hands. The day shall dawn soon when the brave people of Afghanistan would realize who is their eternal and everlasting friend; USA, India or Pakistan.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Multan.