Afghan people are not unhappy with Pakistanis

(Fozia Niazi, Islamabad)

Many say Pakistan poked its nose in the Afghan War without any reason, only in line with its loyalty to the United States of America. The USSR had a grand plan to reach warm waters, which its Cold War rival, USA, wanted to thwart out. Before Pakistan going to be sandwiched, the Reds could have meted out similar treatment with Pakistan which they were doing with Afghanistan. It was not only the war for the USA, but the question of Pakistan’s survival too. However, while laying down the contours of this war, Pakistani strategists might have made serious mistakes. But many of the steps were taken under unavoidable circumstances and in sheer love for the Afghan brethren who were forced to take refuge in Pakistan. They were no less than five million in total.

Since then – the Cold War, the Afghan War, the Taliban or the post-Taliban eras – Pakistan has been playing pivotal role, directly or indirectly, towards resolving the Afghan imbroglio. Pakistan hosted the five million, and is continuously hosting over three million Afghan refugees, who after three to four decades, have almost now been integrated into Pakistani societies as well as all kind of business activity. Islamabad brokered and conducted a number of peace summits inside and outside the country. It is a clear sign of commitment and sincerity that Pakistan exhibited during the last four or five decades. In return Pakistan has sustained serious implications, both regionally and globally. It is now facing discouraging blame game on part of the Kabul government.

The fact remains that Pakistan’s generous accommodation of more than three million Afghan refugees for the longest duration is the example of Pakistan’s contribution towards bringing peace in the region. Obviously this has had consequences: Pakistan has gone financially weak and culturally fragmented. It is continuously facing the simmering security situations. Pakistan army’s around 200,000 troops have been engaged in guarding the western borders, undertaking military operations and maintaining law, order situations within various parts of the country. The country has suffered huge losses in terms of men and material, infrastructure and property. As a policy Pakistan desires a peaceful, prosperous and progressing Afghanistan, and considers it as essential to economic and overall development of Pakistan. This desire for peace in Afghanistan has continuously been demonstrated successive governments, military leaderships as well as the people of Pakistan at all levels. Hence it is absurd to propagate that Pakistan in not interested in peace returning to Afghanistan. Vested interests and intriguing propaganda may tell a different story but the statistics do not tell a lie.

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