Tuesday June 06, 2023

Experts stress review of Afghan policy

March 24, 2023

Islamabad: Experts urged the Government of Pakistan to review its Afghanistan policy in light of the recent developments in Afghanistan.

They were speaking at a roundtable discussion jointly organised here by Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) and the Area Study Centre for Central Asia, University of Peshawar. The participants of the round­table were of the view that the rapid pace of developments in Afghanistan culminating in the rise of the Taliban to power in had necessitated a shift in Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan. They cautioned against using the issuance of visas or the border trade with Afghanistan as a method of coercion against the Afghan government.

The participants expressed their concern about the lack of goodwill among the people of Afghanistan towards Pakistan despite Pakistan’s hosting of millions of Afghan refugees over the decades and assisting Afghanistan in other ways. They were of the view that some of Pakistan's policies aimed at having a friendly government across its western border had impacted the lives of ordinary Afghans. This, they maintained, had negatively impacted the public goodwill that could be generated through Pakistan’s generous support to Afghanistan in a variety of ways including the hosting of Afghan refugees.

The experts underscored the independent character of the people of Afghanistan and urged the government of Pakistan to treat the people and the government of Afghanistan as sovereign equals. They also encouraged the Government of Pakistan to take strong action against militant groups operating inside Pakistan and cooperate with the Afghan government to make sure that Afghan soil was not used for terrorist activities either within Afghanistan, the neighbourhood of Afghanistan or any other part of the world.

Nadeem Riyaz, Dr Muhammad Ali Dinakhe and Aarish U Khan from IRS and Prof Shabir Ahmed Khan, Dr Ahmad, Dr Mohammad Shafi and Farhan Saeed from ASC spoke on the occasion.