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Senator Rehman Malik
October 3, 2017

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Pak-Afghan conflict — Ray of hope from holy land of Saudi Arabia

Pak-Afghan conflict — Ray of hope from holy land of Saudi Arabia

It is a known fact that poverty plays a critical role in tentative progression for countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is a dire need for successive developments in several areas of these countries for yielding higher economic growth. There is no doubt in saying that factors like poverty, illiteracy, inequality, unemployment, low productivity and malnourishment are nurturing poor living conditions. So for countries like ours, it is important to have strong friendly relations with our neighbours propelling economic and regional integration. 

However, Afghanistan and Pakistan have not been able to strengthen their economic ties to a significant extent in order for them to work together towards the development of the region, in general, and for themselves, in particular. Their attempts at collaboration on developing their industrial and social sectors, improvement in their political ties have remained lacklustre. Although both the countries are rich in natural resources but these mineral resources remain untouched as both continued to fight the unrelenting wave of terrorism, inflicted and funded by several foreign adversaries.

On the other hand, the dispute of Kashmir is the real source of continued tension with India. The Indian forces are doing genocide in Kashmir and India resorts to blame game against Pakistan to cover its human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir. India also joined its hands against Pakistan by creating close coordination between RAW and Afghan NDS.

Besides already existing rivalry on its Eastern borders, Pakistan was faced with another dilemma on its Western borders in the shape of invasion of Afghanistan by the then Soviet Union. USA and its allies entered the region with foreign fighters, recruited and supported by USA and allies and Pakistan became launching pad for these fighters against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. This war and its subsequent fall out, both on Pakistan and Afghanistan, not only affected the bilateral relations between both the countries but also affected the economic, political and peace development process. The misgivings between both the Islamic and neighbouring countries provided opportunities to hostile countries including India to exploit it to its advantage, obviously to destabilise Pakistan. The entry of India in Afghanistan, therefore, further sabotaged the peace process between Pakistan and Afghanistan as India had ulterior motives both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

The increasing Pak-Afghan conflict in region has attracted global actors including neighbouring countries, further resulting into human misery, destruction of infrastructure and social cohesion, and increased death toll both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. India, on one hand, in order to divert the attention of the international community away from its abuse of human rights and genocide in Kashmir, has entered Afghanistan with ulterior motives of sabotaging the peace process between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The extensive involvement of India in the affairs of Afghanistan is, in fact, aimed at sabotaging relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, two brotherly Muslim countries.

On the other hand, Iran has started supporting Taliban by means of arms and ammunition to cause US allied forces in Afghanistan to bleed, which again bringing instability in Afghanistan and in return in Pakistan and the region.  We should not forget the role of Iran in Afghanistan where Iran has a strong supporter namely Gulbadin Hekmatyar and some pro-Iran Taliban.  It is unfortunate that instead of dealing problems on both sides, both countries are defending blame games and Taliban are benefiting from this conflict.

The inclusion of Afghanistan back in Saarc in 2005 is said to be the calculated move by India to undermine Pakistan’s position in the organisation. The increasing ties between India and Afghanistan and India’s financial support for Afghanistan is a clear signal that India is bent upon to destabilise Pakistan by using Afghanistan against it. The role of external powers has further shaken the peace process between Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Similarly, USA’s constant interruptions in internal affairs of the regional states, particularly Pakistan and Afghanistan have further affected bilateral ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

The presence of post-Afghan war Taliban in the region has posed threats not only to the internal security and stability of Afghanistan but has divided the Pakistani society on religious/sectarian lines besides posing threats to its sovereignty. Taliban are being financed by the drug lords without any hindrance by the Afghan government as 40% production of drugs is originating from Afghanistan and being supplied worldwide and Pakistan is one of the sufferers in terms of increase in addiction to nearly 2 million people of all ages. The dangerous correlation between drugs proceeds and terrorist financing is badly affecting Pakistan and equally Afghanistan.

The signatory countries of Saarc had agreed, inter alia, to cooperate in curbing terrorism and drug trafficking but unfortunately Saarc remained limited to meetings and resolutions only and no concrete steps were taken. Ever since its creation, it has failed to come true to the expectations of the people unlike any other similar organisation in the world to create a platform pertaining to the development of the region or to work for the prime issue of peace within the Saarc countries.

The peace in the regions especially relations amongst Pakistan, Afghanistan and India is in fact linked with the resolution of disputes amongst these three countries. These relations have been linked to the resolution of unresolved borders and issues including terrorism by Afghan Taliban and their associates, refugee crisis, smuggling, Narco trade. These issues have, in turn, created interest of different mafias on both sides.

Combination of these issues gained a bigger momentum and it converted into a monster of terrorism, bigger conflicts and geo-political interests in this region. The above explained position created complex issues but ultimately we got to have a way forward especially when USA has failed with its mighty force and billions of dollars to bring peace in Afghanistan. UNO is not pushed about it and failed to come up for a solution. The OIC has become a paper organisation and has lost its impact and has not played its role to keep the Muslim Ummah united and hence no positive role is expected from OIC to work for peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Similarly Saarc under the influence of India is not going to create harmony and peace between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The watchdogs of the world and peace keeping international organisations are miserably failing to finish the inimical deadlock between Pakistan and Afghanistan. What option is there to bring both the Muslim countries on one table?

In view of my personal experience, access to intelligence and according to the available information, the ongoing tension and intra-frictions within the counties has created complex situation, which continues to deteriorate the relations between both the countries.

In the given worsening situation, I see a ray of hope coming from holy land of Harmain Sharifain. I feel that Saudi Arabia is in unique position to resolve this deadlock as elder brother for Muslim countries and it must play its meaningful mediatory role and create a friendly and long term relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan with Allah commands making peace between Muslims that fight each other. He commands in Holy Quran: “And if two parties among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both.”

The writer is Chairman of think tank "Global Eye" & former Interior Minister of Pakistan

@Email: [email protected] Twitter @Senrehmanmalik , @GlobalEye_GSA

WhatsApp +923325559393

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