Bolstering Afghan- Pakistan Bilateral Ties

Pakistan and Afghanistan bilateral ties are emboldened by the ideological assimilations, cultural affinity, and geographical proximities. However, the post 9/11 era witnessed subtleness between two states due to various intervening impediments. This particular resentment was subverted by Pakistan’s efficient diplomatic efforts Vis-a- Vis peace and prosperity of Afghanistan. Despite the numerous constraints in the year 2020, Pakistan attained a resounding diplomatic triumph through paving the path for the peaceful solution of the protected Afghanistan crisis that has been laden with violence, embroiling turmoil, and allying social, economic structure for the past two decades. Pakistan has managed to bring all the contending parties [Taliban], Afghanistan government, US, NATO allies, and other parties on the negotiation table to sign a peace accord followed by the crucial deliberations of the on-going inter-Afghan dialogue process between the key stakeholders of the country. This agreement defined a trajectory furbishing the new course of diplomatic dynamics in foreseeable future. Now both states looking forward to healing the wounded scars of history, clearing misperception and hurdles. Notwithstanding the uncertainty of the past, the resounding success of the Afghan peace process allowed two neighbors to further explore the avenues of plausible cooperation, and define a new trajectory of bilateral engagement. In the account of this, The Afghan delegation led by Mr. Nisar Ahmed Ghoryani recently made a five-day visit to Pakistan for the 8th meeting of the Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA). During the visit, the Afghanistan delegation met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and both sides’ vows to further deepen their economic ties through broadening the sphere of trade activities. From an economic perspective, the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries was once worth over $5 billion, but due to security constraints over the years, it reduced to $1 billion. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s during his visit to Afghanistan in the previous month specifically highlighted the exigencies of trading partnerships and also signed the agreement on “Electronic Data Interchange of Transit Trade” to restructure bilateral trade.

It is pertinent to highlight that Pakistan has accommodated the world’s largest refugees during the raged war in the country for decades. According to the UNHCR report, approximately 1.4 million refugees were hosted by Pakistan, however, in recent years half of the numbers repatriated to their homeland. Pakistan has also initiated a process of legalization the immigrants due to their longstanding nexus with Paki­stan. Over the years, Pakistan has been one of the major states that have been playing a significant role in the rehabilitation of the country. As far as infrastructure is concerned, Pakistan has constructed a 75km Jalal­abad Turnham highway with 15 different bridges as well to ensure the smooth commute and trade between the two neighbors. It has also as­sisted in uplifting the communication and energy system of the country. Various projects are underway in Afghanistan that have been sponsored by Pakistan purely on humanitarian grounds. One of the key aspects that Pakistan has specifically trying to improve is the education and literacy of Afghanistan. Despite, minimum education resources, it has initiated projects such as Rahman Baba School and Hostel in Kabul, Allama Iqbal Faculty of Arts in Kabul University, Sir Syed Science Block in Nangarhar University, Liaqat Ali khan Engineering Block in Balkh University respec­tively.

Besides, more than 3000 fully-funded scholarships are also being provided to the Afghan students in different educational institutes of the country. Pakistan is cognizant of the healthcare exigencies of war-torn Afghanistan. It has established 200 beds hospital in Kabul, 80 bed Kid­ney center in Jalalabad, a 100 bed Neb, Aminulah Logar Hospital. Despite such significant efforts, the adversaries have most often deceitfully por­trayed the dismal picture of Islamabad’s efforts of peace, rehabilitation, and reconciliation of Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan should establish a new mechanism to overcome the growing resentments between the two states inculcated by India. A peaceful, stable Afghanistan hampers the Indian regional interests as it loses the options of proxy warfare against Pakistan from Afghan soil. Both Kabul and Islamabad need to further di­versify their cooperation and it should transcend further from a security collaboration into multi-spheres of economic, social, and political part­nership for the welfare of the Afghan people and also further consolida­tion of deep-rooted historic ties that seek preferential treatment.


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About Mushahid Hussain Naqvi 22 Articles
The author is the Digital Editor at The Asian Telegraph and sub-Editor at Melange International Magazine and Research Associate at COPAIR with academic expertise in International Relations.