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Editorial: Prior to Ghani’s arrival

Afghanistan ambassador to Pakistan has confirmed lacking of unity government in Kabul’s consent in the recently held conference at Murree Bhurban. Whereas Pakistan media dominated by a particular mindset including hard line Jamaat Islami exploiting the opportunity projected Engineer Gulbadin Hekmatyar is not only head of the delegates from Kabul but had also restored his identity as “most favorite” of Pakistan. Murree gathering declared as “first ever of Lahore Process” is now followed by a two-days official trip by President Dr. Ashraf Ghani into Islamabad. Both the events are arranged at the time when Islamabad is under tremendous pressure of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on the charges of money laundering/transaction to militant groups and individuals involved in terror activities. A day earlier the US Secretary of State’s Mr. Mike Pompeo also visited Kabul and met with three top leaders including President Ghani, ex-President Hamid Karzai and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah. Beside others US Special Representative Dr. Khalilzad was also present in the meeting, which according to media reports was focused on current situation in Afghanistan. No doubt that Ghani’s visit and Lahore Process conference also remain part of very brief but very comprehensive talks between the high ranking US and Afghanistan officials. Irony of all these happenings is Pakistan’s policies towards Qatar based Taliban leaders by awarding Engineer Hekmatyar, Ustad Atta Noor and several other with warm welcome. Such acts to build up pressure against no other than Taliban leaders in Qatar, unity government and other leaders in Kabul who are either becoming more critical towards Pakistan are distancing from its policies and strategies in recent days. All these leaders both in government and opposition’s are more valuable to help in Pakistan of getting the FATF clearance. But the matter is not so easy as thought in Islamabad. The issue is too much complicated and couldn’t be settled easily, therefore, high ups in Islamabad needs to re-visit their own acts and actions, especially its policies towards Afghanistan and the Afghan Pakhtoons dominating almost of both the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. Sanctuaries of militant groups especially Haqqani networks in scattered areas of Pakistan in general and cross point regions in particular are no more secret. Similarly, one sided restrictions and sanctions on crossing points at Torkham and others had also made fed up Afghans. Even the Afghan nationals lacking what UNHCR documents in Pakistan wants to return but they are being subjected to violent acts and aggression. On payment of huge bribes such type of Afghans are allowed to go back. Thousands of Afghans are languishing in various prisons in Pakistan for undone sins. Precious mineral resources in almost mountainous areas along with Pak Afghan crossing points are at disposal of Pakistani high ups. Instead temporary and short term arrangements, Pakistan needs to think about long term steps and strategies which would not only resolve its own miseries including handling of FATF sanctions and restrictions but also strengthening of bilateral relations with Afghanistan and other regional and neighboring countries. 

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