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September 18, 2020

‘Pakistan-Afghan relations plagued by misunderstanding’

Islamabad

September 18, 2020

Islamabad : A webinar was held by Pak-Afghan Youth forum on ‘Pak-Afghan relations: Future goals setting’. The panellists and participants included prominent personalities from academia, media, and policymakers from both sides of the border. The webinar was organised as part of PAYF’s initiatives to enhance the people-to-people connection between the two countries.

The brainstorming session was also arranged in an effort to start a cross-border dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan in an attempt to discuss how the youth of the two countries could successfully navigate through these historic times.

The brainstorming session was an interactive and informal discussion between the panellists from both sides.

The keynote speaker for the event was Wajiha Qamar, the Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Professional Training. The Afghan panellists included Naimatullah Karyab (Parliamentarian), Ghulam Farooq Safi (Chairman BEST), Anees ur Rehman (Journalist, RTA Afghanistan), Samiullah Jabarkhail (Deputy Director, OSCAR), Wahadatullah Khaplwak (Executive Director C4A). While the Pakistani panel included Dr. Shabana Fayyaz (QAU), Amina Khan (ISSI), Sajid Iqbal Khattak (NUML) and Nizam Salarzai (Youth leader Erstwhile FATA).

Wajiha Qamar shared her views on how the Pakistan-Afghan relationship had been plagued by misunderstandings and mistrust, however civil society organisations like PAYF is a great step in the right direction to change this.

She also struck a sentimental note with the participants by mentioning how like our family, our geographical neighbours cannot be changed, which is why we should try to make our neighbours our strength. She also mentioned that Ministry of Education will extend is best possible support to Afghan students and bridge the gap to bring people of both sides together.

Dr. Shabana Fayyaz highlighted how youth bulge from both sides can be more productive. Other speakers were of the opinion that Pakistan needs to make its relationship with Afghanistan more multifaceted rather than political.

The ideas like joint web TV, production of good quality historic literature, promoting arts and culture and engaging youth in skilful work can be more helpful in bringing two nations more close. Eminent speakers from Afghanistan were also of the view that the age-old tribal bonds that were in place in both Pakistan and Afghanistan must be utilized prudently. Likewise geographical linkages can be extended further to Central Asian Republics and Europe and enhance trade activities. Media has a crucial role to play to overcome past difference and huge potential lies on both sides to learn and get benefit from each other.