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Afghan, Pak intelligentsia emphasize on improved ties

By Shamim Shahid-KABUL: Amidst growing tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan, selected people from intelligentsia and other professions assembled at Kabul on Saturday for discussing ways and means for resolving of the tension as well as suggesting ways and means for restoration and strengthening of relations between the two neighboring countries.

The two days conference on “Cultural Corridor: a path towards people’s solidarity” was organised by Ministry of Border and Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Information and Culture with collaboration of Pakistan and Afghanistan People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy at Inter-Continental Hotel. Besides leading Afghan intellectuals and people from socio-politico circles, a 22-member delegation from Pakistan is also attending the event, whereas the two sides besides highlighting short falls and flaws in acts and actions of both the governments unanimously support ideas pertained to strengthening and cementing of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan at each and every sector.

Dr. Khushal Lodin has welcomed the participants and invited them to float ideas and suggestions, enabling both the countries of settling misunderstanding and rifts through mutual understanding. In particular, he pointed out that Pakhtoons are being suffered as a result of imposed wars and hostilities, remarking, “Pakhtoons are victims of terror but at the same time also charged for terror.” On such grounds, he said that responsibilities with the intelligentsia and public opinion makers to guide these oppressed nation.

Around one dozen speakers have addressed the preliminary inaugural session of the event. Whereas later the participants went on discussing issues like 1) media role, 2) responsibilities of civil society organizations, 3) accommodating wishes and keeping in mind interests of tribes sharing the Durand Line with each other’s and 4) policies of government’s. Afghanistan’s former Information Minister Abdul Karim Khurram, sitting Deputy Ministers Zardasht Shams, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal and Dr. Kamaal Sadaat, Advisor to President Dr. Malalai Shinwari, Prof. Ismael Youn, Alamzeb Khan, Ajaz Mohmand Advocate, Hassan Khan, Qasam Khan Kakar, Engineer Malang Ibrahimi, Dr. Fauzia Khan and parliament member Daud Shah Niazi were prominent amongst the speakers.

Former Information Minister Abdul Karim Khurram in his detailed and comprehensive address said, “Chinese Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is leading towards another round of hostilities in the region, therefore, Pakhtoons needs to remain alert as their soil is again in focus for battling of such hostilities.” He alleged that unfortunately Pakistan always made attempts of getting benefits from Afghan crises. Therefore, it caused unrest amongst them. He said that Afghanistan favor and prefers trust worthy relations with Pakistan but unfortunately getting negative response from the other side.

On behalf of Afghan government, ministers Zardasht Shams, Abdul Ghafoor Lewal and Dr. Kamal Sadaat have welcomed the participants from Pakistan and insisted on maximum cordial, friendly and brotherly relations between the two countries. They believe that people from both the countries are not only sharing similar historical, cultural and traditions with each other but its people are ahead with similar miseries and threats. “People of both the countries couldn’t get benefits of hostilities but they can get a lot from friendships,” remarked Dr. Sadaat. Malalai Shinwari remarked, “We people from both the neighboring countries are sharing each other’s pains and grievances.” She, however, shown resentment over the way Afghan nationals and world celebrity Sharbat Gula were treated in Pakistan.”

Afghan intellectual Dr. Habibullah Rafi has described in depth background of the Durand Line, which he said, “never ever recognized by Afghans.” He said that Pakhtoons living on both sides of the border have the rights to free moment.

Alam Zeb Khan, journalist Hassan Khan and advocate Ijaz Mohmand believe that Afghans should keep in mind interests of Pakistan. Alam Zeb was unhappy over allegations being leveled by Kabul against Islamabad. Ijaz Mohmand said that Afghans should respect Pakistan’s law whereas Hassan Khan said that Afghan government and its people must talk to Islamabad rather than focusing attentions on a few circles of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Hassan said, “Pakhtoons having reasonable population in Islamabad, Punjab and Karachi also who preferring Pakistan interests rather than making themselves as sentimental.”

Dr. Fauzia Khan, a Pakhtoon educationist from Sindh, reminded that like Afghanistan, Pakistan is also facing problems in female education and has evolved a strategy for countering the issue. In this regards, she listed out the steps being adopted for increasing literacy amongst female. Qasam Khan Kakar said that Pakhtoons are badly affected by the hostilities between the two countries. “Earlier, they were suffered a lot due to imposed wars and now they are being victimized for undone sin,” he said. He stressed on the participants to come forward for helping them in resolving of identical issues.

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