Fri April 28, 2017
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Editorial

March 21, 2017

Share

Advertisement

Diplomatic progress?

Diplomatic progress?

The recent meeting between Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz and Afghan National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar in London paid instant dividends as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday unilaterally ordered the reopening of the border between the two countries. The border had been sealed following the resurgence in militancy this year, which Pakistan has blamed on militants operating on Afghan soil. The decision is the correct one to make for both humanitarian and political reasons. Thousands of people on both sides of the border have family ties and jobs on the other side, and the closing of the border had adversely affected their lives. As Nawaz pointed out in announcing the border reopening, the religious, cultural and historical ties between the two countries would not allow for a permanent closure and so he decided it was in the best interests of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to take this step. The decision will be particularly welcomed by the Afghan government since it will allow for resumption in trade. Afghanistan’s economy greatly relies on the movement of goods across the border from Afghanistan and it had been hit hard by the closure. With this gesture, we can now hope for reconciliation and better ties. Both countries, however, will have to be vigilant against repeating the mistakes of the past, when one incident would wipe out all the diplomatic progress that had been made.

Just because the border has been reopened doesn’t mean that Pakistan can afford to be slack on security along the Durand Line. The National Action Plan called for improved security on the border and that commitment has been re-emphasised in recent statements on tackling militancy. While allowing for the legitimate movement of people and goods, security forces will need to be on constant alert for the possibility of militants crossing over. The Afghan government, too, has a responsibility to finally acknowledge that militants targeting Pakistan have found safe haven in the country. The Monday killing of notorious militant Qari Yaseen in a US drone attack in the Barmal district of the Paktika province is further proof that those who have declared war on Pakistan have been able to maintain a base of operations in Afghanistan. Yaseen was said to be the mastermind behind some of the most notable militant attacks in Pakistan, such as that on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, GHQ, the ISI headquarters and Data Darbar. That he was able to evade capture for so long by hiding out in Afghanistan shows that the Afghan government has been negligent in fulfilling its responsibility to take on militants who are carrying out attacks on Pakistan. Now that we have reopened the border, Afghanistan too must step up to the plate and demonstrate its commitment to the fight against militancy.

 

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar

Advertisement