NO one can neglect the role the people can play in strengthening of bilateral relations between neighboring countries. It was the Europeans who had overthrown monarchies, helping in transforming hostile empires into united nations. Peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan were also united at the last times of war against the Soviets. World has witnessed unprecedented jubilation in early 1990’s when the Soviet Union was disintegrated and people from both Afghanistan and Pakistan saw it promising for change in their future. But unfortunately the results proved very disappointing, even bloody for the Afghans in general and Pakhtoons living on Durand Line in particular. During the internal strife in Afghanistan for around a decade, public opinion makers from Afghanistan either fell victim to “mysterious killings” or fled the massacre. And on the slogans of “traitors, any Islam, infidel” Pakistani thinkers, peace loving and progressive minded intellectuals were silenced for years.
The 9/11 tragedy had not only shattered the US-led allies but it even forced the peace loving, democratic and progressive minded intellectuals, politicians, thinkers and researchers to act like their fellows and counterparts in Europe. They have initiated efforts for strengthening of people to people contacts between the two neighboring countries soon after the erstwhile President Hamid Karzai took reign. Former President Hamid Karzai had extended maximum favour and support to these efforts. The situation remain too friendly for such efforts but it ahead with sever jolt after couple of years when mysterious killing of public opinion commenced on both sides. The situation is still the same but still a few persons making attempts to stimulate the like minded intellectuals to resume. In this respect, a conference was held in Peshawar University under the auspices of Bacha Khan Education Foundation. Leading intellectuals, scholars and educationists have attended the conference, requesting maximum emphasis on strengthening “people to people” contacts between the two countries, which they believe is equally beneficial to Kabul and Islamabad. Dr. Khadim Hussain Chairman of Bacha Khan education Foundation highlighting purposes of the conference said, “owing to the present situation in the region where major political changes have taken place such as implementation of Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity, new opportunities for permeation of pluralist discourse, democratization and rights programs have emerged. With the Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity coming into effect, the relations between both countries are expected to be eased to a great extent with both countries pledging to work for fighting violence and extremism and building geo-economic frameworks together. The Action Plan would need working for democratization in both countries and building trust between the two countries. At present relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan is at verge of collapse. Recent violent acts across Afghanistan and imposition of restrictions after restrictions by Pakistan have made very hurt the Afghans. It is the time for intellectuals and public opinion makers from both sides to come up with one objective-which is giving maximum opportunities to people from every walk of life to be in contacts. They may be given opportunities of maximum trade, business, cultural, education, media and other relations, which in future could lead towards European like situation in South Asian.