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June 21, 2015

Karzai-India nexus against Pakistan


June 21, 2015

Pakistan and Afghanistan have started a new beginning in their bilateral relationship and credit goes to the leadership of the two countries that has been making sincere endeavours to improve the ties for the mutual benefits of the two sides. It is really encouraging that the ties between the two neighbouring countries witnessed significant improvements since September 2014, when the new Afghan leadership came to power. Numerous achievements have been made by the two countries during the last nine months despite the role of some spoiler groups which cannot tolerate to see the ties move forward as they view the growing Pak-Afghan ties against their interest. These elements have started anti-Pakistan campaign, spearheaded by former president Hamid Karzai and India, to malign Pakistan and scuttle the efforts made by the two countries for strengthening of the relationship.
Undoubtedly, the leadership of the two countries is seriously working to improve the ties and bury the decade-old mistrust. In this regard, the leadership of the two sides held discussions and emphasized the need for closer collaboration to fighting the menace of terrorism. The visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan in November 2014, was really a watershed event which generated positive results and brought the two countries closer. Similarly, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif visited Kabul on 12 May, 2015, and assured the Afghan side that the enemies of Afghanistan cannot be friends of Pakistan and his country stood in strong solidarity with Afghanistan. In order to boost security and defence cooperation, the Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif paid several visits to Kabul. Likewise, various Afghan military delegations also visited Pakistan to increase security cooperation between the two neighboring countries. In April 2015, Afghan Chief of Army Staff General Sher Mohammad Karimi was honoured to be the chief guest at the Passing out Parade, at Pakistan

Military Academy Kakul.
It is worth mentioning that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, a military chief of foreign country was made the guest of the honour at the Military Academy.
Apart from political and defence relations, improvement in trade relations is also one of the top priorities of the governments of the two sides. In this context, significant progress has been made and a number of decisions have been taken to facilitate the traders of the two countries. These decisions were made during the visit of Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan to Kabul in April 2015. In order to facilitate the Afghan Transit Trade, Pakistan simplified the scanning process of Afghan transit cargo and now only 20% of the cargo would be subjected to scanning leading to a clearance of 90% of Afghan consignments within 24 to 48 hours.
Earlier, 100% of the cargo had to undergo scanning process. Similarly, Pakistan allowed Afghan trucks not only to carry goods to Wagah Border but also to bring Pakistani goods on their way back to Afghanistan. Efforts are being made by the government of Pakistan to operationalise Pakistan Railways for transit of Afghan cargo. Pakistan Railways is in the process of arranging to carry 400 containers of Afghan transit cargo per week to Torkham and Chaman from 1st July, 2015. The government of Pakistan took these decisions for the facilitation of Afghan traders.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are terror-stricken and facing similar economic and social challenges. Only strong partnership between the two neighbouring countries can help overcoming these challenges. In the given circumstances, both sides have no other option but to have friendly relationship based on shared goals of peace, stability and prosperity. Pakistan has been making efforts for promotion of peace and stability as it strongly believes that peace and stability in Afghanistan is not only in the interest of the two countries but also of the entire region. Pakistan believes that the destiny of the two counties is interlinked and, therefore, closer cooperation between the two nations is highly important for the social and economic prosperity of the people of the two countries. But, unfortunately, there are certain elements which are unhappy over the improvement in the relationship.
These elements are not the friends of the people of Afghanistan as they have their own axe to grind by spoiling the ties.
Former president Hamid Karzai and the Indian lobby are on the forefront to instigate the people and criticise Ashraf Ghani’s Pakistan policy as they are extremely displeased over the growing Pak-Afghan ties. Hamid Karzai has devised a well- thought strategy, with the help of India, to put pressure on Ghani government to refrain from entering into understanding with Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI. In order to materialise this plan, he has been using the services of former NDS Chiefs, print and electronic media and some parliamentarians to build up pressure on the government to scrape the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS). He has urged the National Unity Government on different occasions to immediately cancel the MoU. These lobbies are harshly criticising the new understanding terming it as tantamount to selling the national interest.
Ex-NDS Chiefs Amrullah Saleh and Asadullah Khalid and the spokesman of Hamid Karzai have been writing articles criticising the draft MoU. They say that intelligence cooperation with Pakistan is a treason and betrayal of the Afghan soil. The anchorpersons of prominent electronic media and analysts have been voicing opposition to the MoU. The driving force behind this campaign is Hamid Karzai who is doing all this at the behest of India.
The fact of the matter is that the MoU provides closer cooperation and coordination between the intelligence agencies of the two countries and focusing on jointly fighting terrorism.
This new development needs to be appreciated and welcomed instead of criticising it. Afghanistan has signed about a dozen of agreements with the foreign countries during the last thirteen years but there was no such hue and cry at the massive level. Actually, both countries are the worst victims of terrorism and the present circumstances demand to have closer cooperation and coordination between the intelligence agencies of the two countries which is highly important for uprooting the menace of terrorism.
The question arises why Karzai is against the good neighbourly relations with Pakistan? The answer is simple as he has been playing in the Indian hands for personal interests since long. He always kept criticising Pakistan at every forum during his thirteen years of corrupt rule. Why is he doing so? The fact is that he has been getting millions of dollars from India on monthly basis to finance anti-Pakistan propaganda. He spends the money on media people, parliamentarians belonging to his camp, academicians and writers to propagate against Pakistan. Strangely, Hamid Karzai government has signed about a dozen of such agreements with foreign countries but there was no such reaction from the media and parliamentarians. Nobody talked of selling national interests at that time. The patriotism and loyalty of Hamid Karzai to his country can be judged from the fact that he had openly admitted in 2013, that he had been receiving stacks of cash from CIA and Iran on monthly basis. But no one could dare to question him why did he get the money from CIA and Iran, as being head of the state, and where and how did he spend the same?
The objectives of the Indian friendship with Afghanistan are very clear as she has been using Afghan soil against Pakistan. It is an open secret that India has been financing and training terrorists and sending them to Pakistan to carry out terrorists’ activities here. India has been spending millions of US dollar on Afghan people, including mediamen, parliamentarians, writers and operatives of NDS to sow the seed of hatred and mistrust against Pakistan. It is the same India which supported former Soviet Union when the latter invaded Afghanistan and killed millions of Afghans and made millions of them homeless. Currently, both Karzai camp and India have joined hands to undermine President Ashraf Ghani’s efforts for improving ties with Pakistan. Similarly, Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Amr Sinha’s interviews to the media and tweets are part of the same campaign which is against all diplomatic norms. Surely, Hamid Karzai and India would not succeed in their mission to mislead the Afghan populace as the Afghan government and its people have realized the fact that the present day’s economic, social and security challenges cannot be overcome without having good relations with all of its neighbours.
The writer is the freelance columnist.

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