Analysts seek review of ties with Pakistan
High-ranking Afghan officials, particularly President Hamid Karzai, have paid many visits to the neighbouring country over the past decade in a bid to win Pakistan’s support.
But the fence-mending trips have failed to yield any positive results, the experts claim, stressing the need for unity among Afghans to prevent Pakistan’s interference.
The suggestion came at a sitting arranged by the Mahmood Tarzi think-tank in Kabul on Wednesday. Several intellectuals and political commentators attended the brainstorming session.
Latif Nazari, one of the participants, asked the government not to expect any positive change in Pakistan’s strategy. Kabul’s attempts at goodwill would not be reciprocated, he added.
The presence of 45 countries, including the US, in Afghanistan had failed to force Pakistan into stopping meddling and hence little hope for any shift in its course of action, Nazari argued.
He asked the authorities to pursue “cultural diplomacy” with Islamabad by explaining its views on key bilateral issues to Pakistani political parties, religious scholars, civil society activists, pro-democracy and human rights groups.
Pakistan is mired in complex domestic problems, including threats of division, according to Nazari, who believed Kabul should tell Islamabad in plain words to halt meddling; otherwise Afghanistan too could exploit its weaknesses.
He underlined robust national unity to ward off the threats to the country. The government must do whatever it could to foil foreign conspiracies aimed at dividing the Afghans, he stressed, calling for institutional reforms and a culture of merit.
Renowned writer Abdul Hamid Mubarez also sounded pessimistic about cooperation from Pakistan, cautioning the Karzai administration against pinning hopes on what had been elusive over the past 10 years.
Growing Kabul-Delhi ties and efforts to implement mega projects like the Afghanistan-Tajikistan-Iran rail plan had further fuelled Pakistan’s antagonism, Mubarez explained.
He alleged Pakistan was trying to use armed groups to foment trouble in Afghanistan’s northern provinces, which had been relatively calm until recently. Such efforts reflected Pakistan’s aversion to lasting peace in Afghanistan, he maintained.
Parliamentarian Kamal Nasir Osuli proposed Pakistan’s international partners should be convinced into preventing their ally from meddling in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.
Despite Kabul’s consistent efforts to foster warm relations with the neighbour, he regretted that Islamabad had refused to change its approach. One effective way of preventing foreign interference was national unity, he concluded.
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