Will Afghans avoid tragedy ? | By Naveed Aman Khan

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Will Afghans avoid tragedy ?


ARE the Afghan leaders stubborn, short-sighted and hot headed unwilling to have meaningful peace dialogue with their own fellow politicians.

If Afghan leaders don’t have the capability and capacity to make the peace matters result oriented, then who will bring successful peace for them to Afghanistan? Both Ashraf Ghani and Taliban have been completely unsuccessful in maintaining their positive sensible impact on international community. They seem least interested in the attainment of peace.

It looks they are politically and diplomatically barren unaware of the importance and effects of peace. Unwise behaviour of the Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan stakeholders have put Afghanistan in deep trouble. Today none is ready to sit with different political parties to tackle national and international issues faced by Afghanistan.

As the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan enters its final phase and the Taliban make more territorial gains, an influx of refugees into Pakistan seems inevitable.

But this time, Pakistan is not in favour of opening its border, and ready to look into the Iranian model if the situation demands.

If the situation deteriorates, Pakistan will establish settlements along the border with strict control and monitoring, prohibiting the entry of refugees into the mainland.

Unlike past the government should follow the Iranian sensible model to contain refugees in these camps and restrict them effectively along the international border.

There were around one million Afghan refugees in Iran, but they were all living in refugee villages set up by Iran along the border areas with Afghanistan since the 1980s and prevented from settling in cities and towns.

Pakistan needs to learn from the successful implementation of handling the Afghan refugees along the Iran-Afghanistan border.

In the past influx of Afghan refugees in Iran couldn’t deteriorate situation there. Law and order situation remained under control.

At present there are two key border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan Chaman in Balochistan and Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa besides several small trading points. Most of the border with Afghanistan has been fenced, making illegal movement difficult.

Pakistan was not a signatory to the UN Convention of Refugees 1951 and the 1967 Refugee Protocol, the country still had been a responsible neighbour and hosted over four million Afghan refugees for more than four decades.

Unlike Iran there has been tension between locals and Afghan refugees in Pakistan. All the Afghan refugees could have been restricted without having any direct negative impact on Pakistan.

Pakistan couldn’t understand the seriousness of the law and order and manage the movement of Afghan refugees from their camps.

Resultantly, the criminal minded Afghan refugees started introducing Kalashnikov and heroin culture in Pakistan. Our most serious fear is that the Afghans might add to the strength of sectarian terrorists.

In the past, most of the Afghan refugees could manage to reach Karachi. The city’s civic amenities were already overstretched.

Resultantly in many areas of Karachi already bleak law and order started deteriorating. This mishandling of the Afghan refugees really jolted every corner of Pakistan.

It was the outcome of our mismanagement and incapacity. The probable humanitarian issues confronting the region, including Afghanistan, need to be considered and handled wisely.

We need to keep note of our economic and political situation, social aspects and security problems before taking any decision.

The decision to allow entry of Afghan refugees fleeing the fighting in their country should be seen keeping interests of Pakistan because Pakistan is our responsibility first

. Pakistan comes first. Opening of the border could facilitate movement of Pakistanis wanting to support the Taliban either as fighters or in logistics.

Because of such situation in the past, a women from Pakistan tried to travel to territories controlled by the militant Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. This leads to the spread of violent religious extremism in the country.

The security establishment should not ignore the fact that a large number of Afghans who arrive would be jobless and might get involved in the politics of ultranationalists in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, like the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM).

The UNHCR is to support the government in case of an influx of Afghans. The government will have to monitor the situation closely in the region and ensure that peace and stability be fully achieved in Afghanistan through dialogue.

A political solution should be favoured instead of conflict, but the risk of further displacement exists and Pakistan needs to be prepared.

Around four million Afghan nationals living in Pakistan, out of which 1.4 million are holders of the proof of registration card (PR Card), followed by about 850,000 who have Afghan citizen cards while up to half a million were unregistered persons mostly living in remote areas, doing menial jobs or were nomads or herders.

At this stage successful peace talks amongst the Afghan stakeholders can avert tragedy in Afghanistan. Political instability and long wars have crushed nerves of innocent Afghans.

They are badly affected. The Afghan stakeholders should have mercy on Afghans. They need to negotiate and behave like a sensible peaceful nation.

Wisdom is key to success and prosperity. Only wisdom will lead the journey to attain peace. Peace keeping is utmost need and responsibility of the Afghans themselves.

Afghanistan is Afghan’s homeland and none will suffer more than themselves if peace keeping efforts are not honoured. Only collective efforts of Afghans can bring Afghanistan out of crises.

Both Ashraf Ghani government and Taliban have been completely unsuccessful in maintaining their positive sensible impact on international community.

They seem least interested in the attainment of peace. It looks they are politically and diplomatically barren unaware of the importance and effects of peace.

Unwise behaviour of the Afghanistan government and other Afghan stakeholders have put Afghanistan in deep trouble.

Today non is ready to sit with different political parties to tackle national and international issues faced by Afghanistan.

Are the Afghan leaders stubborn, short-sighted and hot headed unwilling to have meaningful dialogue with their own fellow politicians.

If Afghan leaders don’t have the capability and capacity to make the peace matters result oriented then who will bring successful peace for them in Afghanistan?

—The writer, based in Islamabad, is book ambassador, columnist and author of several books.

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