For Pakistani civilian and military establishments the 6th Heat of Asia summit did not go well. They knew the outcome. So did the partners of Afghanistan. Those who pelt others cannot expect bouquets and salutes in return. Islamabad had thrown enough dust in the regional and global players’ eyes. No one was ready to hear the rusted clarification statements that are hollow and hold no meaning. As Afghanistan and India came under multiple terror attacks this year, therefore, it was illogical for the two countries to stick to the failed diplomatic gestures. Patience of the two countries has reached at the boiling point when confidence building efforts of New Delhi and Kabul went in vain.
President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan, soon after taking oath, to meet the civilian and powerful military establishment there had yielded no results. President Ghani came under severe criticism at home but he wanted to give a chance to Pakistan to set its course and play constructive role in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it did not happen. There was no reciprocation on part of Islamabad. Therefore, the leadership in Kabul had to use other means to achieve the ends. Despite crippling pressure, Afghan government has not budged from its just stance. How can Afghanistan remain quiet when civilian and military casualties have increased? The militants are enjoying safe havens in Pakistan. No leader in the world can ask as a spectator when his nation is bleeding.
The approach of liberal and democratic forces in South Asia has changed. Sanctuaries of terrorists are not acceptable. Terrorists are not only wrecking havoc in Afghanistan and India but also in Bangladesh. Violence in the region has also claimed lives of many innocent Pakistani civilians. When Kabul is speaking against terrorism it is not only because the Afghan leaders care about their own people. They also feel the pain of others who are hit hard by this menace. That’s why President Ghani had asked Pakistan to spend $500 million on fighting terrorism. The amount was pledged by Pakistan in the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan in October this year.
How biased and blind the Pakistani media is because they started criticizing Afghanistan for speaking against terrorism and extremism. Despite a significantly greater need for financial assistance, Kabul is asking Islamabad to spend $500 million on combating terrorism so children in Pakistan can go to schools without fearing for their lives. Likewise, the devotees in Pakistan can go to shrines without fearing terror attacks.
Moreover, state-level support to terrorists and extremists is not only threatening national security of Afghanistan and India but also Iran, China and Central Asian Republics. Trust deficit at regional level would benefit the terrorists. Therefore, the moderate forces should join hands and support the proposed regional fund to fight terrorism and extremism.