Pakistan and Afghanistan relations after angry statements by Pak officials

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan were not that fruitful. As earlier government led by ex-Afghan president Hamid Karzai had harsher statements whenever Afghanistan faced high profile attacks. Taliban were called a matter not of inside Afghanistan but the sanctuaries outside of Afghanistan. After the 2014 presidential election, the throne came under the newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Ashraf just completed his two day visit to Pakistan. In his visit he met with high level officials, his counterpart the Pakistani president, prime minister and had one of the most important meetings with Pakistan chief of army staff Gen: Raheel Sharif.

National and international reports have flooded media. In particularly the statement released by the government officials from Pakistan side. After Ashraf Ghani meeting with Maulana Fazal Rehman, chief of Jamiat e Ulama Islam Pakistan, who is a member of National Assembly, stated that the Afghan peace is linked to the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan. Until foreigners withdraw Afghanistan, peace won’t restore to the Afghans motherland.

The Pakistan army Inter Services Public Relations director general stated the same and linked the Afghan insurgency a cause of foreign forces presence in Afghanistan, while he was talking to Washington based Voice of America Deewa Radio [Pashto service].

The third statement came from Sartaj Aziz, Prime Minister Adviser on Foreign Affairs talking to BBC. Aziz told that Pakistan should not engage in a war with those [insurgents/militants] whose target is not Pakistan. He was stating about the Afghan Taliban [Quetta Shura] and Haqqani Network presence inside Pakistan.

On the other hand, Afghanistan has always demanded assistance from Pakistani authorities while prolonging their reconciliation with the Afghan insurgent groups [Taliban]. Because Afghan government concerns are raised while seeing Fata/North & South Waziristan as hidden sanctuaries for anti Afghanistan militant’s presence. The Afghan government calls the area a heaven for the Taliban and Haqqani Network [a group working under the leadership of Jalaludding Haqqani, veteran jihadist since USSR invasion of Afghanistan].

A hide and seek tactics are used from Pakistani side toward Afghan Taliban, even they are said to be hiding here and different media reports and research articles have stated it in their  reports from the areas.

Since the beginning of global war on terror and the toppling of Taliban regime in Afghanistan Pakistan is said to be playing double game. When United States of America pressurized Pakistani government and showed them a carrot and stick policy after the launch of anti Taliban and Al Qaeda war, Pakistan though played a role of key figure. But Pakistan hasn’t cooperated with Afghan government as a neighbor.

Though, ex-president Hamid Karzai having influential role and both harsher and diplomatic tune toward Pakistan’s strategic policies and long time interference in Afghanistan didn’t yielded result. It is true Karzai’s era was a bitter one for Pakistan and pushed her to the headlines of world news for having “double standard” policy against Afghanistan. Means both supporting Afghanistan government in meetings but supporting their rivals [Taliban] causing the decade long insurgency inside Afghanistan’s southern regions.

The situation got worse when a key leader of Taliban, Mullah Ghani Biradar, was taken in custody after having backdoor channels with Karzai led government. This not only endangered the reconciliation process but the ties between the two countries got to harder statements from the two leading governments. This got a bad fold after the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the Afghan leader who led the Afghan High Council of Reconciliation.

Fata is not only turned to be a sanctuary against Afghanistan, it got another group Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan in 2007. Pakistani Taliban umbrella group launched anti Pakistan attacks after several peace agreements between the insurgents and military breached.

The newly elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif kept a clear political and democratic policy toward Afghanistan. Nawaz announced Afghanistan a sovereign nation and raise hopes for better ties between Kabul and Islamabad. The same remarks were made in Pakistan-Afghanistan-Turkey tripartite meeting in Turkey.

In the history of Pakistan, foreign policy is engineered by the country’s powerful army establishment. That has been a cause of three wars with neighboring India and supported a three decade long civil war in Afghanistan since USSR invasion. A sudden change and independent foreign policy by the elected government of Nawaz Sharif was clear attack on army establishment interests in the region particularly toward Afghanistan and India.

This all happens after Reuters reported that Pakistan’s democratically elected government is being pushed for more pressure by Army. And they demand “space” in foreign policy or probably complete space of the stated policy. It further reported that Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf leader & Tahirul Qadri, the Canadian national religious cleric, four months long sit ins in the Pakistani capital were used as pressure cooker for getting space in foreign policy.

Thanks to parliamentary parties who succeed in guarding the democratically elected government and pushing the army provoked Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri back to their lines. Just last month Qadri announced to end his sit in, Imran Khan’s sit in is though not in a greater number, still goes on. But the report seems to be pragmatic after seeing Aziz comment in a reported published via dawn.com. And Aziz comments truly shows a diversion of PM Nawaz government from their vows they made in Kabul and Turkey.

We can suggest PM Nawaz the better relations with Afghanistan & other neighboring countries is a need of time. Otherwise Pakistan is never having a status to remain active in interference. Pakistan is already divided from inner side. Baloch & Sindhi separatist movements are on way to their intended destinations. Khyber Pashtunkhwa has not recovered from the burned it got in the previous seven years [since creation of Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan], polio cases are more than 250 just in this year, malnutrition; is reported in a survey published via BBC News that more than 42% of Pakistani population is malnourished, economy; is totally dependent on the grants from World Bank & International Monetary Fund; terrorism eat outs minorities.

In the above stated situation if still Aziz, FazalRehman, Asim Bajwa thinks or act wrongly, it means they going to return us back to the stone ages. We can’t pursue our aggressive foreign policies toward our neighbor Afghanistan. Therefore we should welcome President Ashraf Ghani’s positive stance and flexibility and not consider it be Afghan leader’s weakness but his loyalty to his people and war torn nation.

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