Why should Pakistan cooperate in Afghanistan’s peace process?
Pakistan is Afghanistan’s neighbour and has always cooperated with the Afghan people in various fields. The Afghan peace process is at an advanced stage and Afghanistan is closer to lasting peace than ever before. The recent Istanbul Process conference in Tajikistan, the recent meetings in Qatar and the upcoming conference on Afghanistan’s peace process in Turkey have the message that a regional consensus has emerged for peace and stability in Afghanistan. Likewise, The countries of the region have come to the conclusion that Afghanistan’s instability means regional instability. We are now at a critical juncture in the peace process and Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process can’t be overlooked. Hence, why should Pakistan cooperate in the Afghan peace process? We have asked a number of Afghan analysts and commentators about this.
Mr Taj Mohammad Tamkeen, an Economist and University Lecturer on Afghan Peace Process:
While discussing views on Afghan Peace Process he stated; “Today the shared economic interests between countries are very important. Some geographical locations are such that the economic interests of one country are linked to another country. Therefore, if there is unrest in one country, its bad effects will affect the other country as well.
Furthermore, he stated, Pakistan should cooperate more in the Afghan peace process because of the economic gains to both countries, there is no other way but to cooperate. If Pakistan really wants to get out of the economic crisis then there must be a shared wave of economic development. That is only possible if there is security. Security and comfort are crucial for the China and Pakistan economic corridor. So if there is peace in Afghanistan, it will have a direct impact on Pakistan’s economic growth. Subsequently, it will pull the country out of the economic crisis.
Mr Sher Alam Amlawal, a Political Analyst and University Lecturer:
Afghanistan and Pakistan are two neighbouring countries, both of which have political, economic, social and cultural influences on each other. The Afghan peace process is in Pakistan’s interest, especially economically. Afghanistan is a good market for Pakistani product. On the other hand, Afghanistan can connect Pakistan with Central Asian countries through transit. Pakistan needs Central Asian oil and energy. The best way for Pakistan to control and gain access to Central Asian markets is to reach Central Asia through Afghanistan.
Mr Ahmad Jamil Populzai, Lecturer, Nangarhar University:
“The tribes on both sides have a common culture and religion, Pakistan and Afghanistan share a wide border, in this case, the situation of one country can have a direct impact on the other. For example, if there is no security in Afghanistan, it will affect Pakistan both economically and politically. Recent changes have adversely affected the population on both sides. Similarly, peace in the region will have a positive effect on the social and economic situation of both countries. When a fire breaks out in Afghanistan, it is certain that it will affect at least some parts of Pakistan, so regional security is essential for all countries.”
Mr Suleiman Sherzai, Professor, Faculty of International Relations and Politics, Rokhan University:
“Pakistan is recognized as one of the most powerful countries in the Islamic world. We are always counting Pakistan as a powerful in the Islamic countries. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Pakistan to cooperate for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan.
So if Pakistan wants to prove itself as a good neighbour, then Pakistan must cooperate in the Afghan peace process.”
Dawood Quraishi, a Political Analyst and Head of Hamdard Social Foundation:
“At present, the foreign policies of most countries are region-oriented in order to promote regional interests and find common ground. Pakistan needs to move forward with regional cooperation with Afghanistan and take full advantage of Afghanistan’s geo-strategic and geopolitical location.”
Mr Sarfaraz Sargand, University Lecturer and Political Analyst:
“Pakistan’s efforts will allay some of the international community’s suspicions about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism. Therefore, if Pakistan cooperates in the Afghan peace process and establishes lasting stability in Afghanistan, it will. Present to the world as a political opportunity that we want global stability.”
Recently, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing stated in a conference on Afghan peace in Islamabad that Afghanistan’s stability is important for the stability of the entire region and for development in the region. Pakistan’s genuine cooperation with the peace process is essential.
The President of Afghanistan, Mr Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, on Afghan peace process:
President Ghani has always emphasized bilateral cooperation. During a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Kabul, President Ghani said the two sides should work to strengthen trade and strategic vision based on economic and transit cooperation.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, on Afgan Peace Process:
Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Kabul stated that peace and stability in Afghanistan are in the interest of both countries and the ongoing violence is unacceptable. Mr Khan said Pakistan was becoming increasingly frustrated and affected by the presence of violence in Afghanistan.
Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao:
Sherpao is a Pakhtunkhwa politician and leader of the Qaumi Watan party, also told a news conference that Pakistan’s stability depended on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. So Pakistan must genuinely cooperate in the Afghan peace process.
From the above comments, we can conclude that if the entire region, especially Afghanistan and Pakistan, want to make progress, there is no other way but bilateral cooperation. Pakistan should cooperate in Afghanistan’s peace process. Pakistan should also cooperate with other countries in implementing major economic projects in the region.
Afghanistan and Pakistan not only have historical commonalities, but also a common future. They need genuine bilateral efforts to build regional connectivity and cooperation. This is important for improving the situation of the peoples on both sides and should form the basis of relations between the two countries.
According to analysts, the two countries must have a vision of political and economic development and not miss opportunities in the face of threats. Peace and stability in Afghanistan will strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Pakistan must value state-to-state relations with Afghanistan. Pakistan must improve relations with Afghanistan and thus pave the way for security and development in the region.