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Imran Khan’s stress on “peace, trade and connectivity” with Afghanistan

By Shamim Shahid

On the eve of his single day trip to neighbouring Afghanistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan has assured President Dr. Ashraf Ghani of extending help in combing of violent acts and return of peace. Premier Imran accompanied by high ranking officials including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi and Director General of ISI held details talks on matters of mutual interests with President Ashraf Ghani and his aides. The two sides have listened each others with patience and agreed for evolving a strategy aimed at strengthening of bilateral relations.

In his brief but comprehensive remarks Prime Minister said, “the only way to help people on both sides of the border is by peace, trade and connectivity.” These a few words are confirming determination of Premier Imran not only for return of peace and stability but also promotion of bilateral trade between the two neighbouring countries.

Soon after assuming the office in August 2018 last, Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered keeping open the most busy crossing point with Afghanistan-Torkham around the clock. Similarly he had also directed easing of trade and travelling sanctions from time to time. Even on the first day of previous October, Pakistan Foreign Office has made public its most friendly Visa policy for Afghanistan.

Though premier Imran and his government has made stock of decisions for strengthening of relations with Afghanistan but the ground reality is too much different. Still the Afghans are unhappy with continuous violent acts and extra-ordinary hurdles in getting of Visa’s from Pakistan’s diplomatic missions. Even on the day when Premier Imran and his team was engaged in talks with President Ghani team, a road side bomb caused lives to several persons in Southern Qandahar city.

Whatever might be justification of Pakistan and its high ups but the Afghans alleges sanctuaries of militants in Pakistan. Likewise, almost family members and close relatives of Afghan Taliban and other resistance leaders/commanders are residing in Pakistan. Except a few, majority of religious clerics, seminaries and its million of students are proud on their love for Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, especially with Haqqani networks, claiming responsibility for almost  violent acts taking place throughout Afghanistan. Not a single political or religious figure from Pakistan has denounced or denouncing the deadly violent and terrorist acts taking place in Afghanistan.

No one is doubtful about sincerity of Prime Minister Imran Khan for having cordial and friendly terms with neighbouring Afghanistan but it is a fact that certain internal state organs and foreign friends are thinking on different lines. There exists a bid gap which could be bridged whenever the policy makers from Islamabad and Kabul enter into trust worthy relations with each others. Both the countries and its people suffered a lot due to continuous violent acts, taking place from last forty years in the region. And now both the neighbouring countries are ahead with similar security, economic, civic and administrative issues.

Premier Imran Khan has visited Kabul at the time when the whole world’s economy is dead bed due to COVID-19. And at this crucial stage, both the neighbouring countries could help each other’s very well. It is the time for both the countries and its rulers to realise their prime responsibilities of helping the terror and violent affected people to get a relief-and the relief is possible in according to Premier Imran, “by peace, trade and connectivity.” 

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