After formation of the National Unity Government in 2014, Islamabad promised Kabul that it would bring Afghan insurgents, enjoying safe havens and support in Pakistan, to the negotiating table. Although, most of Afghans knew that the honeymoon period would not last for long, President Ashraf Ghani has to give a final chance to Pakistani authorities to bring the warring parties to the table of talks within six months. The president faced severe criticism. He took some steps that damaged his credibility. However, he believed in the policy of good neighborhood and honesty despite knowing the end result—deception and lies.
The first lie that was told to the Afghan government was that the peace process received green signal from the Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Muhammad, who had died two years ago before the first direct talks in Murree city of Pakistan in July 2015. The talks halted when the bubble of trust broke. All attempts of the unity government to normalize relations with Islamabad and give the region hope proved futile. Afghan war intensified when Mullah Mansoor become the Taliban’s commander. Kabul approached Islamabad many times through backdoor diplomacy to control the insurgent group and help the Afghan-led peace process. This time again, Pakistan lied by saying that Mullah Mansoor is in Afghan soil.
It is naïve to think that lies could hold ground for long. Truth will always prevail. The notion was proved right when leader of the insurgent movement Mansoor was killed in a US drone strike in Balochistan in May 2016. Pakistan, which has a history denying having role in Afghan insurgency and terror activities in the country, denied condemned the drone strike. To avoid embarrassment, Islamabad denied having links with Mansoor or information about his whereabouts. Fortunately, possession of Pakistani passport proved the Afghan claims that the Taliban leader was supported by Islamabad. He used Pakistani passport to travel abroad.
Formation of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, comprising of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and the US could not change help the Afghan peace process because Islamabad has not executed the roadmap drafted by the four nations. It was decided by the quadrilateral group that those insurgents who would not renounce violence would face music. Sadly, the insurgents are dancing on the tunes of Pakistani military establishment while the civilian government lies.
The latest lie told by Foreign Ministry of Pakistan is that leadership of Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Haqqani Network is based in Afghanistan. The ministry’s spokesman, Nafees Zakaria said that killing of militant and terrorist commanders in Afghanistan proves that top leaders of these groups are outside Pakistan. As a matter of fact his statement is illogical. The statement is a blunt lie.
The militant leaders were killed in Afghanistan because they were fighting here. They would have been killed by Pakistani security forces if they had challenged writ of the Pakistani government. Why Pakistani troops would kill them when the Afghan insurgents are labeled as strategic assets? The insurgent leaders killed in Pakistan were either targeted by the US or rivals.
In a nutshell, every country in the region is suspicious about role of Pakistan in the war against terrorism. To build a soft image in the world, Pakistan should stop misleading people and act sincerely in the war on terror.