Be­yond Torkham bor­der gate

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Dr Muham­mad Khan Email: drmk_edu@ya­

IN his pol­icy state­ment, Sar­taj Aziz, the Ad­vi­sor to the Prime Min­is­ter on For­eign Af­fairs said in Par­lia­ment that, Pak­istan has in­formed the Afghan Gov­ern­ment about the con­struc­tion of Bor­der Gate at Torkham. He fur­ther ex­plained that, “When Afghan au­thor­i­ties ex­pressed their reser­va­tions; we took them into con­fi­dence and told them that the gate is con­structed inside Pak­istani ter­ri­tory.” The most sig­nif­i­cant part of the gate is that, it aims at con­trol­ling the ter­ror­ism by re­strict­ing the move­ment of ter­ror­ists from ei­ther side as “un­reg­u­lated move­ment al­lows in­fil­tra­tion of ter­ror­ists and smug­glers.” There­fore, the Afghan Gov­ern­ment should have wel­comed this, rather re­sort­ing to fir­ing which killed an Army of­fi­cer and in­jured many more men of the se­cu­rity forces.

Pak­istan is se­ri­ously think­ing to reg­u­late the move­ment of peo­ple from all cross­ing sites along PakAfghan Bor­der in fu­ture. In last two years, the ter­ror­ists found in­volved in all ma­jor at­tacks like; APS Peshawar, Bacha Khan Univer­sity, Twin Churches in Peshawar and Bad­aba­har Air Base came through Torkham bor­der. Then, Pak­istan has all the rights to pre­serve its bor­der and chan­nel­ize the move­ment of all those, en­ter­ing into its bor­der or else ex­it­ing from it.

Afghan au­thor­i­ties do not al­low en­try of any Pak­istani with­out proper doc­u­ments and check­ing, how could it ex­pect Pak­istan to al­low a free en­try for its cit­i­zens. Then, Pak­istan has all ev­i­dences of ter­ror­ist’s in­fil­tra­tion into its bor­der from Afghanistan and go­ing back af­ter car­ry­ing out at­tacks. The bor­der gate at Torkham would be help­ful for Afghanistan too in con­trol­ling the il­le­gal en­try into that coun­try. The bor­der gate at Torkham is well within the Pak­istani ter­ri­to­ries and Pak­istan has the right to con­struct any­thing in its own ge­o­graph­i­cal boundaries. Should a neigh­bor­ing state have the right to stop any ac­tiv­i­ties of its neigh­bors within its boundaries? This undue in­ter­fer­ence of Kabul in the af­fairs of Is­lam­abad based on her ill in­ten­tions, which could be aimed at sab­o­tag­ing the peace and sta­bil­ity of Pak­istan.

Whereas, Pak­istan de­sires peace, sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic pros­per­ity of Afghanistan and good broth­erly re­la­tions be­tween two Is­lamic states, should Kabul think other­wise? The an­swer lies in a re­cent state­ment of the For­eign Of­fice spokesper­son Mr Nafees Zakaria who said that, “Afghans are be­ing mis­guided.” Who mis­guide Afghans and what mo­tives are be­hind this anal­ogy; can be bet­ter ex­plained from his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive of PakAfghan bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship and; the In­dian fac­tor.

It was India, which im­me­di­ately af­ter in­de­pen­dence of Pak­istan, pro­voked Kabul for not recog­nis­ing Pak­istan and claimed Pak­istani ter­ri­tory too. Later, Kabul King­dom con­tin­ued cre­at­ing the prob­lem over Pak-Afghan bor­der, the so-called Du­rand Line. Kabul even pro­voked and bribed some of greedy Pak­istani Pakhtuns for cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate home­land (Pakhtunistan). How­ever, the spir­ited Pak­istani Pakhtun pop­u­la­tion re­jects the ne­far­i­ous de­signs of suc­ces­sive Afghan regimes. They are the most pa­tri­otic Pak­ista­nis and re­mained stead­fast even in the most try­ing times like the decade of 1980s and the cur­rent phase since 2001.

The rep­re­hen­si­ble de­signs of Kabul against Pak­istan can be well imag­ined from a re­cent state­ment of Hamid Karzai, a for­mer Afghan Pres­i­dent. He while talk­ing to BBC said that, India has “filled Afghanistan with money de­spite be­ing a poor coun­try” and that, Pak­istan is against good re­la­tion­ship be­tween Kabul and New Delhi, which in turn is not ac­cept­able to Afghanistan. It is per­ti­nent to men­tion that, Pak­istan is not against bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship be­tween New Delhi and Kabul, but against spon­sor­ing of In­dian ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan, while mak­ing use of Afghan soil and through its spy­ing net­work; NDS.

It is worth men­tion­ing that, there is a coali­tion be­tween NDS and In­dian RAW for cre­at­ing in­sta­bil­ity in Pak­istan through ter­ror­ism and ex­trem­ism. India is in­deed mis­guid­ing the Kabul regime for decades now. Afghan Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple like Ab­dul­lah Ab­dul­lah and Hamid karzai want India to pro­mote ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan and Pak­istan should re­main quite over this. In­deed, the peo­ple of Afghanistan are poor, im­pov­er­ish, and mostly be­ing de­ceived by the self-cen­tered rulers of Kabul. They want a close re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan but be­ing be­trayed and mis­lead.

In­deed, Pak-Afghan bor­der is not an is­sue, since both coun­tries have lived to­gether for al­most seven decades now. Even peo­ple like Karzai ac­cept that, it is just an ‘in­her­i­tance of im­pe­ri­al­ism’ hav­ing no in­ter­na­tional im­pli­ca­tion and both coun­tries can solve it bi­lat­er­ally. The is­sue is be­ing kept alive by India through its paid Kabul guards for blam­ing Pak­istan or else to con­tinue cre­at­ing a rift be­tween Is­lam­abad and Kabul. Had there been some fore­sight and as­tute­ness in Afghan rulers, such provoca­tive for­eign dic­tates could have been set-aside long ago.

In the con­tem­po­rary global politics, United States and India have con­ver­gence of in­ter­ests over the re­gional and global is­sues. In the new Great Game, Asia is be­ing seen as the new hub of power strug­gle for ei­ther the sur­vival of cur­rent su­per power or else the rise of new pow­er­house (s). Be­sides a resur­gent Rus­sia, China is rapidly ris­ing as the peer com­peti­tor for the US both in Asia and at the global level out­side Asia. As a strate­gic part­ner and deep-rooted Chi­nese friend, Pak­istan is be­ing pres­sur­ized be­cause of non-is­sues and de­spite its un­matched con­tri­bu­tions and sac­ri­fices.

Pak-Afghan bor­der is not an is­sue, but In­dian strong­hold over Kabul for desta­bil­is­ing Pak­istan is the real is­sue. Above all, the Wash­ing­ton-New Delhi nexus through Kabul is the new emerg­ing threat for the re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity and Pak­istan is the im­me­di­ate and di­rect suf­ferer. This emerg­ing sit­u­a­tion needs a care­ful han­dling and a well thought-out for­ward plan­ning. Torkham Bor­der Gate and Haqqa­nis are ex­cuses, the real de­mands are sub­mis­sion to US and In­dian dic­tates and re­nounc­ing its strong link­ages with China in­clud­ing the CPEC. Should Pak­istan com­pro­mise its na­tional in­ter­ests? The need of hour is na­tional unity and an aware and re­spon­si­ble po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. — The writer is In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions an­a­lyst based in Is­lam­abad.

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