Afghan peace process: Pakistan seen as manipulator
Arranged by Da Saba Fikr (Concern for Tomorrow), a non-profit civil society organisation, the meeting was attended by a large number of social workers, analysts, peace activists and ordinary people.
Dr. Faiz Mohammad Zaland, a university teacher and political commentator, and High Peace Council Secretary Aminuddin Muzaffari, also a former Senate secretary, were among the speakers.
Under British rule of the Indo-Pak Sub-continent, Dr. Zaland recalled, the colonialists left the region in the midst of disputes. He referred to Pakistan’s creation and unresolved border spats between Kabul and Islamabad, as well as Pakistan and India.
He accused the Britons of intentionally keeping the border rows unresolved so as to use them for personal gains in future. At present, he alleged, the situation was being exploited to keep the pot boiling.
While referring to the Islamabad’s role in the Afghan-led peace process, the academic cited jihad against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Much before the Geneva talks, the Russians had acknowledged their defeat, signalling their willing ness to leave the country.
But Pakistan, seeking to advance its vested interest, continued to try to keep the Soviet forces engaged in Afghanistan, the writer claimed. And thus the debilitating conflict dragged on.
With regard to the first round of peace parleys between Afghan government and Taliban representatives in Murree, the analyst voiced his scepticism. Just as they formed the Mujahidin government after the Soviet pullout, the Pakistanis were once again trying to catapult the Taliban into power as a result of the Murree process, he thought.
HPC Secretary Muzaffari echoed Zaland’s view, blasting Pakistan for failing to play the role of an honest and trustworthy peace-broker in Afghanistan. Instead Islamabad had historically tried to be an adroit manipulator, he maintained.
He went on to mention a famous Pashto proverb which, loosely translated, would read: “It is better landing in hell than going to heaven on feet borrowed from the neighbour.” Pakistan’s history was replete with instances of differences and spats with neighbours, he insisted.
Once again, he said, Pakistan disclosed the death of Taliban’s reclusive leader Mullah Mohammad Omar at a time when the Afghan peace process was underway. The demise was kept under wraps for two years and a half, he added.
Taliban delegates’ participation in the July 7 meeting in Murree was green-lighted by their current leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, the official feared the peace talks could end on an inconclusive note due to internal rifts in the movement.
Both speakers agreed that understanding among the Afghans could find more reliable internal interlocutors, as dependency on neighbours and other regional actors had been far from result-oriented. In the second session, they answered questions from participants.
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