By: Faheem Nazimi 11th May 20
When the British withdrew from the Indian subcontinent on 14th August 1947, the partition brought into being the new Muslim state of Pakistan which became Afghanistan’s eastern neighbor. Afghanistan has always claimed the North-Western Frontier Province, and certain other territories including what is now Pakistan’s Baluchistan province which would give it access to the Makran coast, as its own seaport bed. Pakistan has taken possession by force of all former Afghan territory, which had been under the influence of the former British Indian, but not part of its territory. For example, the territory of “The independent Khan of Kalat” was forcibly occupied by Pakistani troops, forcing the Khan to flee to Afghanistan or the FATA for instance. This is an insurmountable predicament in the way of Afghanistan’s economic stability and progress and the current fight against terrorism as well as the travesty of the 21st century. The Pashtun and Baloch areas have been deliberately neglected within Pakistan, promoting infighting among these ethnic groups, and reducing them to being mere recruiting grounds for militants, thereby enabling Islamabad to maintain its strategic relevance in the region. Luckily PTM has emerged in the area as a vanguard of human rights non-violent movement. Afghanistan supports the struggles waged by our brothers in the PTM and Baluch Freedom Movements. We stand in solidarity with them to support their democratic rights and stance to achieve their basic human rights and freedom and justice currently violated and denied by Pakistan. The stability of this region is totally dependent on Afghanistan. We want Pakistan to realize that for the sake of stability and peace in the region, and the historical fact and the harsh realities on the grounds, they must leave FATA and the Pashtun belt and Baluchistan at once. We also suggest that there is an immediate need for the west to take a hard look at this artificial border and restore the natural and historical frontier between these two countries for the sake of peace in the region.
History has shown that India has always been Afghanistan’s major international trade market in the past. Unfortunately ever since the emergence of Pakistan as its eastern neighbor Afghanistan’s major international trade market has been drastically restricted and its trade routes have been constrained. Thus, Afghanistan has been rendered totally dependent on its foreign trade on an alien Karachi port in a hostile country. Despite the existence of numerous international trade treaties between the counties, the situation has never improved. Even when Afghanistan was peaceful for at least half a century, its economic growth had been hindered by the fact that it has lost its autonomy over its trade routes. This has deprived Afghanistan of its most vital means of economic sustainability, rapid economic growth, and prosperity despite the gains that the international trading system has brought; the landlocked developing countries remain marginalized. Landlocked developing countries’ share of world trade remains minuscule, accounting for only 0.57 percent of the total exports and 0.64 percent of the total imports of the world’s merchandise in 2003. Geographical realities coupled with a lack of critical transport infrastructure and additional border crossings entailing complex procedures continue to pose a significant impediment to trade for land-locked developing countries such as Afghanistan than actually, tariffs do. There is little doubt that without real solutions to the disadvantages that beset Afghanistan as a land-locked country, it will be driven to the outer fringes of the global economy. Afghanistan being mostly dependent on Pakistan for its imports and exports is the greatest victim and sufferer of these geographical disadvantages imposed on it by Pakistan who has always remained hostile to Afghanistan causing tremendously high transit costs. As a result, the economic growth of Afghanistan is totally constrained. The consequences of this brutal economic suffering have now emerged in the form of extreme backwardness which is de-stabilizing Afghanistan.
Pakistan is the vanguard of political Islam in the region and the spawning grounds of terrorism. It is whole-heartedly supporting Al-Qaeda, Daesh, and the Taliban. Pakistan, historically, ever since its inception has been trying to destabilize Afghanistan. It has always attempted to keep Afghanistan deprived of free access to the sea or land access to its traditional market India. Afghanistan has to look for a real solution to this problem, which is of vital importance for its survival and prosperity. Pakistan, ever since its establishment is dreaming of keeping a weak and subservient Afghanistan as its western neighbor and still hoping to achieve this ominous goal whereas, Afghanistan has always maintained a benevolent foreign policy toward Pakistan.
Afghanistan maintains that it will not permit its country to be used for the destabilization of any other country, particularly in the region. The president of Afghanistan Dr. Ashraf Ghani has categorically stated this in his foreign policy guidelines, he has said: “ We will not sponsor terrorist groups as an instrument of policy. We will not use state organizations as non-state actors. Some people live in a world of mythology. They believe in their own allegations. Allegations need to substantiated and put to third party verification. Whom would they accept, for this reason, China, the US? Who would they accept? Our policy is based on good neighborliness and cooperation. Afghanistan sees itself as a roundabout, a place of meeting of civilizations, cultures, trade, and a source of harmony for thousands of years. We have fulfilled this function for the great Silk Road. We are a place of meeting. We do not want to be a source of contention. We are not part of proxy wars. We want a solid relationship and it is important to have a fact-based approach and in the gold oriented policy. Our policy is good neighborliness, cooperation, linking Central Asia to South Asia. Despite any tension, our economic cooperation is on. We are working on TAPI, We are working on the transmission line from Turkmenistan, We are working on KASA, the transmission line, we have not slowed down, but as a landlocked country, we have rights to transit and transit needs to be our priority. Our relationship is multi-dimensional. Our greatest problem is our poverty and poverty can be uplifted through regional cooperation. So, regional cooperation is absolutely central to the type of policy that I lead and the type of threats.”
Pakistan has resorted to the extreme measures of violation of international law and human rights by more constantly rather than every now and then closing the main Afghan transit border crossing with Pakistan stranding thousands of legal visa holder passengers on either side of the border exposing its rogue and militaristic hegemony to the world. Pakistan is playing a non-state player role and has no regard for any international conventions governing international relations and international trade and transit obligations. Their leaders have no convictions or credibility for human rights or international law. Pakistan is emerging as the violent and defiant terrorist sponsored state in the region posing threat to the region and the world at large. It has proven to be a permanent source of instability for Afghanistan and India. Soon it will spread its terrorist violence to its neighboring China and the Central Asian countries, as well as Iran.