Afghan President Preferred India over Pakistan

27 Jul

By Tariq Rizwan
Despite the recent clashes on Torkham border between the two sides’ border forces, Afghans consider Pakistan as their second home after Afghanistan. Millions of Afghans are still living in Pakistan and unwilling to go back either due to security situation back in their country or due to their established business in Pakistan. Since 1980 when they thronged into Pakistan and Iran as refugees after Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Afghanis are living across Pakistan, running their business. There are about 1.5 million Afghans, living in Pakistan as refugees, according to UNHCR estimates. Though Iran was ruthless and able enough to confine them to refugee camps and sent them back to Afghanistan once peace was restored to their country after the ouster of Taliban in 2002.
Pakistan is facing tremendous administrative problems in terms of economic surveys and distribution of resources in areas where these refugees are residing. They are being considered as economic burden by the locals as they have procured local CNICs and grabbed property and business in their own names. Despite the recent terror spell in the country, Pakistan has banned extension of visas to all foreigners, including Afghans in March 2012. Yet, Islamabad owns all these poor Afghans whole heartedly, irrespective of their cast and sect whether Pashtuns, Baloch, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, sunnis or shias and caters for their well being as per UNHCR rules. During this odd and terrible time, India was with former USSR and helped the communist regime in ruthlessly bombing and mining Afghan territory which resulted in loss of immense human life and destruction of infrastructure.
Indeed, it is quite unfortunate that Afghan leadership views Pakistan as foe and India as a friend. While talking to a Geo News Anchor Saleem on 23rd July, 2016, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stated that relations with Pakistan are a bigger challenge for his country than the existence of terror groups such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban. He alleged that Pakistan provides sanctuaries to terrorists and trains them. He said “We cannot understand when Pakistan says it will not allow a group of terrorists to amend its constitution, army act and prepares a National Action Plan (NAP) against them. Simultaneously, Pakistan tolerates another group which attempts to undermine the government and bring horror, death and destruction to Afghanistan”. He claimed, he can provide addresses of Taliban leaders in Quetta. He asked Saleem Safi whether he can show any operation against Haqqani network Mullah Omar, against Mullah Mansoor while Afghan LEAs have carried out 11 attacks against Fazlullah group on Afghan soil. He alleged that terrorists wounded in Afghanistan are openly treated in Pakistani hospitals and the Afghan designated terrorists also hold open meetings in Islamabad.”
The Afghan President, while answering a question, stated Afghanistan is proud of its friendship with India, as India shares Afghanistan’s democratic aspirations. He said “India is a historical friend, and helping them in building dams in Afghanistan, it is a democratic country and shares our democratic aspirations”.
He also revealed some measures for Pakistan, if interested to restore confidence level between Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as bringing lasting peace in the region. The measures include a swift action against the declared terrorist groups especially those Afghans who reject peace talks should be evacuated from Pakistan.
Though it is a hard nut to crack to find out those who reject peace talks in Afghanistan but his formula is not difficult to follow and implement. All Afghan Refugees may be returned to Afghanistan as done by Iran, at the earliest and action taken against all good or bad Taliban to purge the western belt of militancy. To achieve such goals, it is of paramount importance to implement National Action Plan (NAP), introduce reforms in FATA, bringing it in the mainstream in no time, secure the border to block easy crossing of militants but not at the cost of cross border business and tribal movement. Besides, Islamabad may extend unconditional support to President Ghani administration to neutralize growing Indian influence in Afghanistan.
The writer is freelance journalist

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