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Editorial: Play your cards right!

Endeavoring to link Afghan peace with the Kashmir issue in one way or another isn’t the best policy for Pakistan to pursue during the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. On July 31, India revoked the autonomous status of the Indian-administered Kashmir, sent additional troops and abrogated Article 370 of its Constitution, stripping the disputed territory of its special status and bifurcating the region into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir. In retaliation, Pakistan, having been irked by the move, downgraded diplomatic ties, suspended bilateral trade and stopped several cross-border train and bus services with its archrival. In a bid to get India backpedal on its decision, the country is making all-out efforts; however, the line was crossed when it linked Kashmir with Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s opposition leader in the Parliament Shahbaz Sharif has recently drawn a comparison between Kashmir and Afghanistan and said, “What kind of a deal is this that the Afghans enjoy and celebrate peace in Kabul, but in Kashmir, blood is shed? No, this is not acceptable for us.” Meanwhile, Pakistan’s envoy to the US has also threatened that his country might redeploy troops from the Afghanistan border to the Indian frontier, a move that can complicate and affect the peace talks with the Taliban. This is while the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul attempting to clarify and clean up after the others said that the Kashmir issue would not affect the peace drive in Afghanistan. But this reveals us the true color of hypocrite Pakistan because it looks as if the country’s envoy attempts to blind Kabul while its parliament is addressing the US by brazenly dragging the Afghan peace into its issue of Kashmir. Now it seems that the foreign policy of Pakistan – a country purportedly exercising democracy when it is a stratocracy – is out of the Pakistani lawmakers or government leaders’ hands because it’s prescribed by the military and they do what they are told to.

Such acts by Pakistan deeply disappoints the Afghan nation because Pakistan, our neighboring country which claims to be doing everything it can to back the Afghan peace, concurrently dares to use the Afghan peace process as a tool and leverage to make the US intervene in the Kashmir issue. Despite Afghanistan favors peace and stability everywhere – regardless of place – it has more than enough on its plate already and doesn’t want to do anything with the Indian government’s decision because it’s an internal issue between India and Pakistan – which should resolve their bone of contention bilaterally.  However, linking these heightened tensions between the two countries over Kashmir with the situation in Afghanistan is inadvisable. The country should not play the ‘promised support’ to Afghan peace as a card to achieve its aims and interests. Such warnings and moves would never aid in improving the crisis at hand other than revealing the true stance of Pakistan towards peace in Afghanistan.

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