Pakistan and Afghanistan are two neighbor countries sharing a porous border and strain relationship since 1947. Both the countries have same religious, ethnic and cultural identities yet the relations between both the countries have not been very friendly. Pakistan shares a 2430 km long border with Afghanistan which has severe implications for it regarding its sovereignty and integrity. The seed of mistrust was sown, once Afghanistan voted against Pakistan in the United Nations. Since then from cross border clashes to the issue of Pushtunistan and attack on Pakistani embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan has not missed a chance to attack Pakistan despite of it being profoundly dependent on Pakistan since it being a land locked country and has to depend on the shores of Pakistan for its trade with the outside world. Both the countries have disagreement on number of disputes and being in war since last four decades, the issues have increased. War on terror in Afghanistan has led to severe security and economic implications for Pakistan.
Afghanistan blames Pakistan for the creation of Taliban’s in the soviet war and now they are strong enough to have grown as a non-state actor terrorizing the writ of state through their extremist policies. Waging war against Taliban’s in Afghanistan and aiming to eradicate their ideology from its roots was the focus of US government, yet they failed comprehensively. Ideologies can never be finished by waging wars on them rather they grow more strongly and people start to believe on the specific ideology more persuasively, as has happened in Afghanistan.
Trade can be an important measure to re-build the relations of both the countries based on trust and confidence. Though Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) is a better initiative in legitimizing and increase the trade of both the countries, yet until and unless traders from both the countries are not given their due importance in the decision-making process, illegal trade will not stop. Both the countries need to give due importance to their traders in the decision-making process, so that common people start building confidence on their government and both states will have the benefit of increased revenue generation.
In order to stop the ease availability of drugs in the local market of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan through its security agencies and anti-narcotics forces (ANF) needs to catch the retailer of drugs in the local markets on a wider range. Once the drug dealers are captured, and the smooth availability of drugs is stopped, it will have two impacts. Firstly due to the shortage of drugs from the market, its price will hike and it will not be possible for a common person to buy it. Secondly the circulation of business for the drug dealers will become very slow. Quantity of drugs will not be sold out which will halt the investors to invest their money in drug trade.
Pakistan needs to ensure the return of Afghan immigrants living in Pakistan as it is not possible for Pakistan to further support them in the country. Pakistan has faced enough economic loss and damage of social fabric and now its needs to revive back its social structure. Government of Pakistan and Afghanistan need to address this issue immediately before Pakistan faces another setback due to Afghans living in Pakistan.
Afghanistan is in the phase of transition. Dialogue process is the only way out for them to deal with the Taliban’s and other terrorist organizations, as US has tried its level best to eliminate them through war, but it has rather increased and globalized the phenomenon rather decreasing it. Pakistan has been playing a very active role in the peace process of Afghan government, Taliban’s and United States. War is definitely not the solution as it will have its impacts on Pakistan as well. So ensuring and playing a decisive role in the peace process is strongly in favor of Pakistan. Effective management of Pak-Afghan border is not possible without Afghanistan also playing an active role in it. Intelligence agencies of both the countries should at least cooperate with each other to secure the border. If peace is the ultimate objective, it is not possible for both the countries without cooperation of their institutions.
Note:Annum Qayyum Khan is a student of Defence and Diplomatic Studies at Fatima Jinnah women University.