Clashes at Torkham bor­der cross­ing

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION -

FAKEHA FAIZ Pak­istan, th­ese days, keeps plung­ing from one for­eign pol­icy cri­sis into an­other. The re­cent skir­mishes at the Pak-Afghan bor­der are the lat­est ex­am­ple that things at the for­eign pol­icy front are get­ting topsy-turvy for Pak­istan, at the mo­ment when the coun­try can least af­ford. The stand-off at the Pak Afghan kicked off when Pak­istan started to build a gate on its side of the bor­der to reg­u­late the free move­ment of peo­ple and traf­fic from across the Du­rand Line.

The Afghanistan gov­ern­ment, how­ever be­lieves that this sort of se­cu­rity ar­range­ment at the bor­der is the vi­o­la­tion of the writ­ten agree­ment signed be­tween the two coun­tries which aimed to ease the move­ment al­most 400 clans and tribes liv­ing on both sides of the bor­der for cen­turies. Afghanistan be­lieves that such peo­ple are tied by the bond of blood and brother­hood, and restrict­ing their move­ment would not only be an in­jus­tice with th­ese tribal peo­ple, but also the vi­o­la­tion of agree­ment. Pak­istan be­lieves that tight­en­ing se­cu­rity at the bor­der is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary not only for Pak­istan, but also for Afghanistan as many un­scrupu­lous el­e­ments in­fil­trate into the two coun­tries in the garb of com­mon trib­als. More­over, smug­gling also takes place through the bor­der with­out any hin­drance.

Both coun­tries need to cool down ten­sions, as ag­gres­sive pos­tur­ing by both sides would only ag­gra­vate the prob­lem. Both the coun­tries can­not af­ford any fur­ther rift in re­la­tions, as the Pak-Afghan re­la­tion­ship is al­ready at the low­est ebb. We can­not al­low hos­til­i­ties and bit­ter­ness to grow be­tween neigh­bours on which the peace and sta­bil­ity of the re­gion de­pends. The is­sue de­mands far­sight­ed­ness and pru­dence from the lead­er­ship of the two coun­tries, and it is im­por­tant for both to be on the same page. Afghanistan, be­ing our brotherly na­tion needs to be en­gaged through di­a­logue and diplo­macy. In­no­cent civil­ians and bor­der se­cu­rity of­fi­cials of both sides have al­ready borne the brunt of un­abated fir­ing. Cease­fire is a wel­come de­vel­op­ment, but the is­sue still de­mands a long-last­ing am­i­ca­ble set­tle­ment with­out hurt­ing the in­ter­ests of ei­ther side. It is hoped that san­ity and peace pre­vails in both coun­tries. —Via email

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