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Opinion

Pakistan Must Change Its Policy on Afghanistan

It is a crucial time for Pakistan's foreign policy makers, especially those who make long term political and economical polices on Afghanistan, to bring positive, honest, and comprehensive changes in their polices on Afghanistan.

One can say it is a long overdue. However after the killing of Bin Laden on the 02nd May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the whole world have been convinced and believe that some part of the Pakistan ISI and Military have been harbouring the al-Qaeda and other Islamist fudamentalist groups for their benefits in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Mr Gilani's speech to the national parliament on the 09th May 2011 was necessary even it was embarrassing for him. He has to at least have some face to his nation and the International community for what they have been doing with their double face policy in relation to elimination of terrorism from Pakistan. Whatever he said would not make any differences in the world opinion towards Pakistan government and its relationship with the terrorists groups.

President of Afghanistan, Mr Hamid Karzai has been, for a long time telling the international community that the nest of terrorism and its leadership are in Pakistan and from there, they are sending armed groups who are making disturbances and create insecurity in Afghanistan.

To those who make the policies on Afghanistan, that I as a neighbour, as a Muslim brother and as a friend of the people of Pakistan, would like to suggest and advise that now is the time that you should grow up and learn from your past mistakes, and not to repeat them again, and you must come up with more mature and honest practical long-term objective policies towards Afghanistan.

Your problems with India over the Kashmir issue, is up to you two countries to resolve it, it must not affect, good multi lateral relationship with Afghanistan and other countries in the region.

You should now realise that as long as the current Afghan problem is not settled, then for many reasons there can be no political stability in Pakistan, one way or the other, there can be no progress in the economic and social spheres of Pakistan and then in the entire region.

Now Pakistan's economic planning with, central Asia is facing lots of problems because of Afghanistan insecurity.

However, to solve these problems, Pakistan needs an urgent Afghan settlement for its economic prosperity, and both short and long term progressive objectives.

Thus Pakistan's policy on Afghanistan and its objectives surely needs a wise, honest and open-minded restructuring. It has to get out of the cold war mind and thinking.

Pakistan has to change the kind of confrontational poster, and give priority to a co-operative and mutually beneficial relationship. To do this, Pakistan has to abandon the so-called (make water muddy and catch fish) policy, of propping up proxy regimes in Afghanistan. Yet this kind of short term objective has not produced any fruits to them or others.

Pakistan must know by now that these kinds of policies have failed for two reasons.
One, Afghanistan's social and political history has proved that foreign-made leaders or governments do not last long in Afghanistan. As Afghan people do not trust their leaders, once they are installed by foreign powers.

This was my recommendations to President of Pakistan General Musharraf, during my meeting in April 2002 in Islamabad, while I was part of a ministerial delegation meeting him in the presidential office over the Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit issue. President Musharaff agreed with me on that.

Hence for a long time Pakistan have shown an inclination towards an individualistic freedom.
Pakistan has to learn from the past history of the British and Soviets' experience, which it was not simple nor possible to contain or suppress the Afghan streak.

Second, people have to understand that the Afghan Soviet- war, during the 1980s created a different and new kind of thinking, and also awareness within the overall Afghan society. This new awareness, and readiness of the Afghan society is giving us Afghans clear signals. These signals are telling us that it would be impossible to suppress in the collective consensus amongst Afghan population. For the Afghans whatever outcome. Hence it has to be without foreign interference.

Foreign interferences in the Afghan internal and external affairs have always been greatly resented by the overall Afghan people. Therefore, it is the right time that Pakistan must get out of so-called their "Deep Strategic political interests in Afghanistan" and must rather adopt deep strategic economic policy in Afghanistan. This policy will be beneficial to both countries in all its aspects of life.

Pakistan must resist the temptation of influencing Afghanistan's political, economical and social affairs, for their own interests. The same advice is to other countries in the region.

After all Afghanistan is a sovereign and independent country. It has the right to choose with whom to have its friendly, political, economical, and social, relationship. Unless it is not going to harm others.

For Pakistan and other neighbours of Afghanistan in the region, the bes and beneficial, political and economical approach would be to have a friendly, non-aligned, democratic government in Afghanistan rather than a foreign-made puppet regime.

It should be very clear to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, in particular to Pakistan and Iran, that there would be no stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the region until there is a secure and a stable Afghan government made by the Afghans themselves.

Once this goal of peace in Afghanistan is achieved, the rest of good things will automatically come with the assistance of the international community. Economic, political and social organisations will eventually take roots.

Now it is time for Pakistan's policy makers to know that Pakistan is falling behind of economic initiative with the rest of the central Asian countries, owing to the problems of Afghanistan.

Instead, other countries like Iran, Turkey and central Asian states have taken the benefit while Pakistan has been obsessed with the cold war perceptions of confrontation and strategic depth. If Pakistan wants to do trade with central Asian countries and wants to improve its economy, then the only inland route is through Afghanistan.

Unless Pakistan has land-route access and proper communications systems, it would not be able to establish economic ties with North Asia. While they should look into other countries like Kazakhstan which has already offered Iran a sea-route through the Black Sea.

Abdul Khaliq Fazal, Minister of Public Works in Afghanistan -2001-2002 President of Evaluation and Privatistion Commission of Public Enterprises Advisor to President Karzai on 2004 Election.

Opinion

Pakistan Must Change Its Policy on Afghanistan

It is a crucial time for Pakistan's foreign policy makers, especially those who make long term pol

Thumbnail

It is a crucial time for Pakistan's foreign policy makers, especially those who make long term political and economical polices on Afghanistan, to bring positive, honest, and comprehensive changes in their polices on Afghanistan.

One can say it is a long overdue. However after the killing of Bin Laden on the 02nd May 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the whole world have been convinced and believe that some part of the Pakistan ISI and Military have been harbouring the al-Qaeda and other Islamist fudamentalist groups for their benefits in Pakistan.

Pakistani Prime Minister Mr Gilani's speech to the national parliament on the 09th May 2011 was necessary even it was embarrassing for him. He has to at least have some face to his nation and the International community for what they have been doing with their double face policy in relation to elimination of terrorism from Pakistan. Whatever he said would not make any differences in the world opinion towards Pakistan government and its relationship with the terrorists groups.

President of Afghanistan, Mr Hamid Karzai has been, for a long time telling the international community that the nest of terrorism and its leadership are in Pakistan and from there, they are sending armed groups who are making disturbances and create insecurity in Afghanistan.

To those who make the policies on Afghanistan, that I as a neighbour, as a Muslim brother and as a friend of the people of Pakistan, would like to suggest and advise that now is the time that you should grow up and learn from your past mistakes, and not to repeat them again, and you must come up with more mature and honest practical long-term objective policies towards Afghanistan.

Your problems with India over the Kashmir issue, is up to you two countries to resolve it, it must not affect, good multi lateral relationship with Afghanistan and other countries in the region.

You should now realise that as long as the current Afghan problem is not settled, then for many reasons there can be no political stability in Pakistan, one way or the other, there can be no progress in the economic and social spheres of Pakistan and then in the entire region.

Now Pakistan's economic planning with, central Asia is facing lots of problems because of Afghanistan insecurity.

However, to solve these problems, Pakistan needs an urgent Afghan settlement for its economic prosperity, and both short and long term progressive objectives.

Thus Pakistan's policy on Afghanistan and its objectives surely needs a wise, honest and open-minded restructuring. It has to get out of the cold war mind and thinking.

Pakistan has to change the kind of confrontational poster, and give priority to a co-operative and mutually beneficial relationship. To do this, Pakistan has to abandon the so-called (make water muddy and catch fish) policy, of propping up proxy regimes in Afghanistan. Yet this kind of short term objective has not produced any fruits to them or others.

Pakistan must know by now that these kinds of policies have failed for two reasons.
One, Afghanistan's social and political history has proved that foreign-made leaders or governments do not last long in Afghanistan. As Afghan people do not trust their leaders, once they are installed by foreign powers.

This was my recommendations to President of Pakistan General Musharraf, during my meeting in April 2002 in Islamabad, while I was part of a ministerial delegation meeting him in the presidential office over the Afghanistan- Pakistan Transit issue. President Musharaff agreed with me on that.

Hence for a long time Pakistan have shown an inclination towards an individualistic freedom.
Pakistan has to learn from the past history of the British and Soviets' experience, which it was not simple nor possible to contain or suppress the Afghan streak.

Second, people have to understand that the Afghan Soviet- war, during the 1980s created a different and new kind of thinking, and also awareness within the overall Afghan society. This new awareness, and readiness of the Afghan society is giving us Afghans clear signals. These signals are telling us that it would be impossible to suppress in the collective consensus amongst Afghan population. For the Afghans whatever outcome. Hence it has to be without foreign interference.

Foreign interferences in the Afghan internal and external affairs have always been greatly resented by the overall Afghan people. Therefore, it is the right time that Pakistan must get out of so-called their "Deep Strategic political interests in Afghanistan" and must rather adopt deep strategic economic policy in Afghanistan. This policy will be beneficial to both countries in all its aspects of life.

Pakistan must resist the temptation of influencing Afghanistan's political, economical and social affairs, for their own interests. The same advice is to other countries in the region.

After all Afghanistan is a sovereign and independent country. It has the right to choose with whom to have its friendly, political, economical, and social, relationship. Unless it is not going to harm others.

For Pakistan and other neighbours of Afghanistan in the region, the bes and beneficial, political and economical approach would be to have a friendly, non-aligned, democratic government in Afghanistan rather than a foreign-made puppet regime.

It should be very clear to Afghanistan's neighbouring countries, in particular to Pakistan and Iran, that there would be no stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the region until there is a secure and a stable Afghan government made by the Afghans themselves.

Once this goal of peace in Afghanistan is achieved, the rest of good things will automatically come with the assistance of the international community. Economic, political and social organisations will eventually take roots.

Now it is time for Pakistan's policy makers to know that Pakistan is falling behind of economic initiative with the rest of the central Asian countries, owing to the problems of Afghanistan.

Instead, other countries like Iran, Turkey and central Asian states have taken the benefit while Pakistan has been obsessed with the cold war perceptions of confrontation and strategic depth. If Pakistan wants to do trade with central Asian countries and wants to improve its economy, then the only inland route is through Afghanistan.

Unless Pakistan has land-route access and proper communications systems, it would not be able to establish economic ties with North Asia. While they should look into other countries like Kazakhstan which has already offered Iran a sea-route through the Black Sea.

Abdul Khaliq Fazal, Minister of Public Works in Afghanistan -2001-2002 President of Evaluation and Privatistion Commission of Public Enterprises Advisor to President Karzai on 2004 Election.

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