Pakistan: A faithful friend of an ungrateful brother, Afghanistan

Pakistan and Afghanistan, two South Asian neighboring sovereign Islamic states, hold a long history of ambivalence. From the Soviet invasion to the United States occupation, the Pak-Afghan relation has been oscillating between love and hate. From opening borders wholeheartedly to providing aid in education, hospital, and infrastructure, Pakistan has tried its best in all regards to helping out its neighborly brothers – the Afghans. Pakistan is a firm believer in having a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, which is in the best interest of her, Afghanistan, and the South Asian region.

Pakistan has been an advocate of peace in Afghanistan. To ensure peace it has been involved in carrying out efforts for decades. In this regard, Pakistan has assisted development in Afghanistan in infrastructure, health and education. In infrastructure, Pakistan has lent a hand in Torkham – Jalalabad road (75km), 15 weighbridges, construction machinery, telecom, electricity system, and internal roads in Jalalabad. Similarly, in the education sector, Pakistani universities have been providing scholarships to Afghan students yearly. Besides, Pakistan has also helped in building Rehman Baba School and Hostel – Kabul, Allama Iqbal faculty of Arts – Kabul University, Sir Syed Science Block – Nangarhar University, and Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering Block – Balkh University.

Moreover, in the health sector, Pakistan has contributed by providing beds to Jinnah Hospital – Kabul, Nishtar Kidney Center – Jalalabad, and Naib Aminullah Khan Logari Hospital along with training more than a hundred health workers. Above all, Pakistan has always welcomed Afghan refugees to an extent that currently, the country is hosting more than 3million refugees. The aforementioned efforts thus conclude that Pakistan has been a firm believer in peace and wants nothing more but peace to prevail in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, on the contrary, is always heated, despite all the goodwill done by Pakistan. The core reason is Afghanistan’s lack of will to move forward and work in coordination towards attaining regional peace. One cannot deny the fact that Afghanistan has been a victim of terrorism for decades and the country has been bathed in blood but this cannot negate the fact that Pakistan has also suffered equally worse. Besides the aforementioned contributions by Pakistan, she has also been the only one to bring the Taliban to table talk. The efforts of Pakistan have even been appraised by the Pentagon. However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was not reluctant in uttering Pakistan’s role as “negative” in the Afghan peace process during “Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan negated the comment by addressing him, “President Ghani let me just say that the country that will be most affected by turmoil in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Pakistan suffered 70,000 casualties in the last 15 years. The last thing Pakistan wants is more conflict”. In addition, earlier the top national security adviser to President Ghani, Hamdullah Mohib, also made “abusive remarks” about Pakistan in context to the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan. As a result, Pakistan announced the closure of all official business with Hamdullah Mohib. Pakistan believes that the Afghan government is not serious about working out things with Pakistan and instead is more interested in blame games and disgracing the sincere efforts of Pakistan. Mohib also arranged a meeting with the opposition leader of PML-N Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif with the aim to stir tensions and up-rest in the country, after being abandoned by Pakistan. Such actions are a clear indication of what the Afghan government is more interested in, despite being treated as “brother” by Pakistan.

Afghanistan continues renewing old grievances instead of looking at the wider picture. Pakistan wants what the people of Afghanistan want, Pakistan is not in favor of or against any political faction that governs Afghanistan. It is up to the people of Afghanistan what they want, Pakistan will support them as a brother and friend. Accusing Pakistan of favoring, or supporting the Taliban, is erroneous. “What the Taliban are doing or aren’t doing has nothing to do with us. We are not responsible, neither are we spokespersons for the Taliban,” said PM Imran Khan in comments to Afghan media representatives. Hence, to blame Pakistan for what has been going on in Afghanistan is not fair. Pakistan has always welcomed, embraced, and provided help of all sorts to the people of Pakistan whenever and wherever required. The recent brief opening of Friendship gate, Chaman border is also a sign of providing facilitation to the people across borders. Pakistan, despite being accused by the current Afghan government and his aide, granted asylum to forty-six Afghan soldiers who crossed the Durand-Line after losing their control of military positions following the Taliban insurgency. It is high time the Afghanistan government reconsiders its stance towards Pakistan and refrains from digging old grievances.

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