Shamim Shahid-PESHAWAR: Reluctance on the part of rulers from both the neighbouring countries of recognizing each other’s sovereign and autonomous status is considered the main cause behind sealing of Pak Afghan border thus putting at halt all sort of trading and travelling. Not for the first time but formally, for fourth time in current calendar year, Pakistani authorities sealed the border.
No doubt to mention that relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan always remain critical. In fact, Afghanistan made initiation by refusing recognition of newly born neighbor-Pakistan in second half 1947. Since then from time to time, both the neighbouring countries instead of becoming friends, emerged as foes. At each and every international forums, both the countries remain on rival’s fronts and even its successive rulers made didn’t misused any opportunity of creating hardships and trouble for each other’s.
But the unceremonial memories of so-called war had enabled Pakistan to establish its influence and image in Afghanistan. But Pakistani’s rulers by dreaming in “Islamic Empire” in the region through US led allies backed Muslim fighters from all over the world, deprived them of that great opportunity. Instead of getting something through such dreams Pakistan is now paying due to wrong doings of its rulers and policy makers. Irrespective of pros and cons Pakistan suffered a lot at hands of those whom its rulers prepared for regional neighbours and still paying for that blunders.
Afghanistan is a landlocked country and depending on its neighbours and in according to international laws and UN charters, sealing of its borders along with Pakistan is unwanted. But due to certain internal and external hardships, Afghanistan is facing problems to raise the issue or to earn sympathies of the international community. Sealing of border is not only lead to disconnecting of every sort of bilateral trade and transportation but it forced thousands of civilians to strand. Affected people are not common but they included patients, students, women and children, even newly married bridegrooms and wedding processions.
History of bad days in Pak Afghan relations, took another turn when on one hand Pakistani rulers made doubling in its commitments in war on terror and on the other some of its policy makers made attempt of shifting hostilities from eastern to western border. And they succeeded in the second motive to some extent but due to its own failures and blunders. Geographically establishing its influence in Afghanistan is not any easy task for India. But Indian rulers have successfully availed the opportunity, created due to failure of Pakistan. Compare to India, Pakistan had made not only thousands of friends but millions as supporters and sympathizer’s who not only remain as refugees but have got maximum socio-economic freedom during their prolong stay.
But unfortunately dreaming the biggest empire in the region through joint ventures along with Islamic hardliners, earlier called as Mujahideen and later familiar as Taliban resulted not only a second neighbouring foe but even made a natural ally of the previous one. And now Pakistan is ahead with foes on two sides whereas third side is covered by another neighbouring Islamic Republic Iran which didn’t trust Pakistan due to its alliance with Saudi Arab. Only a small corner is left, which is now being used for the construction of latest International trade route.
Whatever might be strategic purposes of Pakistani authorities behind sealing of its borders along with Afghanistan but its fate will not be different from recent past experiments and adventures. At the moment, Afghanistan shifted over half of its transit trade from Karachi Fort to neighbouring Iran and other Central Asian Republics which causing billion of rupees annual deficits only to Pakistan Railway. Similarly bilateral trade, which at once was reached to five billion US dollars (both documented and undocumented) now reduced to one billion US dollars. One year back this trade was 2.5 billion US dollars.
Unrest amongst local people, mostly tribesmen who are depending in trade and business links between the two neighbouring countries fuelling day by day. Due to fear they are silent but till how long they will remain. Right from Bolan in Baluchistan till Arandu in Chitral, almost of tribesmen in particular and thousands of businessmen and labourers from all the country are depending in trading with Afghanistan. Afghans can easily recover their losses by diverting trade links towards Iran and Central Asian Republics but no one is in position to say something about future of these affected Pakistanis.
Both the countries are not only sharing similar history, geography, culture and religion but now facing similar security and economic issues. The two countries can easily emerge Europe like prosperous and progressive corners in the world whenever its rulers forget the past and think about trust-worthy future planning. It is the time to think otherwise frequent sealing of borders could be converted into huge walls, which could be harmful to the very interests of both the countries. And like of German’s voices on both sides of walls couldn’t be made on distance from each other’s for a long time.