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Editorial: Whose war?

Rejecting to take action against Afghan Taliban, the adviser to Pakistan’s premier on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that his country could not fight “Afghanistan’s war on its own soil”. In these days Islamabad is under crippling pressure from Washington because the former failed to target Haqqani Network, the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Pakistani authorities are turning a blind eye to the reality. No one asked Pakistan to fight Afghanistan’s war but Islamabad is repeatedly urged to stop investment on its so-called ‘strategic assets’. These assets have gone gory now. Therefore, Pakistan shall fight the war now for its survival in the region. Several militant organizations are working there and recruiting fighters to introduce their own version of Sharia Law in Pakistan. They are sitting right in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Afghan government has the ability and capacity to motivate the groups—not supported by foreigners—to renounce violence and join the peace process. Afghan government is generous and keen listener when it comes to peace talks but the minds of Taliban leaders have been poisoned by the neighboring countries who have assured them that they would win the failed war in Afghanistan.

To reinvent the relations, Pakistan should assure Afghanistan of sincere support during meetings with the Afghan deputy foreign minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai. Provision of facilities to Afghan people at Torkham crossing point would be beginning of this process. If Pakistan remained stuck to its current aggressive policy on Torkham it would do no good. Relations between the two countries are already at the sub-zero level. Decisions based on honesty can only warm ties between the two countries. Afghanistan has repeatedly voiced its support for stable Pakistan. Kabul will not back any country or activity which would fuel insecurity in the region. Afghan government wants to see the region peaceful and developed. However, it could not do this alone, especially when Pakistan is still following its ‘strategic depth policy’. That’s why the trust deficit between the two countries is all times high.

Pakistan shall see its neighbors, no exception to India, as friends not as foes because South Asia lag behind other regions in various fields. Islamabad has badly failed in this calculus because false worries have occupied the military and civilian establishments of Pakistan all the time. Countries having nuclear weapons know that they would not face any threat, especially when it is part of a regional bloc which can compete with the European Union. The European nations have fought two world wars but yet they are closer and developed because they have learnt from their mistakes.

Therefore, Pakistan shall also learn from its mistakes and open herself for friendship with the neighboring countries which would play important role in development of not only the region but also Pakistan.

Pakistan’s better relations with the neighboring countries would give new life to SAARC which would change fate of the millions of people who are living below the poverty line.

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