Friday September 22, 2023

Pak-Afghan borderlands seen as useful source of regional peace

By Bureau report
October 16, 2020

PESHAWAR: The borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan have great potential to become a useful source of peace in the region and they could serve as connecting points for the entire region. But this could happen only if an inclusive peace is achieved in Afghanistan through the current ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.

This was the gist of the two-day international conference on “Dynamics of Change in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Region: Politics, (dis)Integration and Reformation in the Borderland,” which started here on Thursday. The conference has been jointly organized by the Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar and Hanns Seidel Foundation, Germany. Dean, faculty of Science, University of Peshawar, Prof Dr Jahanzeb Khan, was the chief guest at the inaugural session, while Prof Dr Ijaz Khan, a former chairman, Department of International Relations, delivered the keynote speech.

The inaugural session was addressed by Prof Dr Jauhar Ali, Vice-Chancellor of the Khushal Khan Khattak University, Karak, Dr Abdur Rauf, chairman, Department of Political Science, representative of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, Dr Naureen Naseer and others.

In his keynote address, Dr Ijaz Khan spoke in detail about the importance and utility of borderlands. He said borderland studies were emerging as a subfield of political science and international relations. Fixed clear borders are a relatively recent phenomenon starting about 300 years back, when looked at from thousands of years of recorded human history, he said. The borderlands are human constructs, results of politics, geography and power plays, he added.

About Pak-Afghan borderlands, he said, these areas have historically served as a route for armies, wars and more recently non-state interventions and terrorism. The people on both sides of the border have a longer history of interaction and economic, social, political relations. They belong to the same ethnicity, culture and religion. The inaugural session was followed by an academic session for young scholars, which was moderated by Dr Ayub Jan of the Department of political science.

Nadeem Ahmed Takkar, a PhD Scholar from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, Nabeel Hussain, a lecturer, National Defence University and PhD Scholar Dr Sehrish Qayyum, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and Aziza Akrami from Kabul University, presented papers during the session. The final session of the day was moderated by Dr Sami Raza of the Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar.

During the session, Dr James Caron, a lecturer, Islamicate South Asia School of History, Religions and Philosophies, SOAS University of London and Salman Khan, Research Associate, Kings College London jointly presented a paper on “Theorising Violence from the Bottom Up: Swat since 2009.”

“Rethinking Borders and Transnational Mobility after Covid-19” was the theme of a paper presented by Marcos Estrada, Department of Politics and International Studies (PAIS) University of Warwick – UK. Abdul Basit, a research fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence, Terrorism Research of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University presented his paper on “Implications of Possible US Withdrawal from Afghanistan on the South Asian Militant Landscape. The conference would conclude today.