Pak-Afghanistan relation is multi-dimensional encompassing, political, economic, cultural, and shared border which is 2,200 Km long. Due to some unresolved issues, both countries foster the valley of mistrust that creates an imaginary fire and furry sentiments among masses and ruling classes of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
There is a huge potential to exploit untapped opportunities in terms of trade, connectivity, people to people contact and cultural activities. The existing trust deficit must be filled with cooperation, integrity and mutual understanding of inexplicably shattered ideas injected in the mind and hearts of the people of both countries. The mind- bogging hatred, prejudicial elements and suspicion should be alienated from the prevailing notion of “self-styled animosity “.
Islamabad and Kabul have failed to develop desired romanticism in bilateral ties. The loathsome attitude of the ruling elite class has put both countries’ relations on the sway of impediment position that impinges the formulation of policy affecting their mutual ties.
A lack of comprehension on the sensitivity of Afghanistan-India relation is the fatal hallmark and naive failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy. This kind of imposed mind set always created inexorable psyche in diplomatic machinery which further transgressed the matter of “distrust “.
Pakistan and India relation, proxies in both countries, meddling in their sensitive political issues, Kashmir and other unending disparities are the long-lasting issues relate to the broader perspective of both countries’ souring ties. That problem would not go away soon. Afghanistan has emerged as another issue affecting India-Pakistan relations. This India centric approach always brought less comfort and more miseries for Pakistan and Afghanistan that are beyond one’s comprehension.
Stopping trade Via Wagah – Torkham border was an ill-fated idea which increased the prevailing animosity with India and misinterpretation in the Afghanistan ruling circle and the masses. Afghanistan considers India as a friendly state and ally.
Afghanistan possesses huge mineral, tapped and untapped resources a bridge to connect Pakistan with oil-rich central Asian states. Many energy-oriented projects passing through the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan TAPI, CASA 1000 though the Pak-Iran gas pipeline stopped due to US economic sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program.
Afghanistan is no more reliant on Pakistan being a landlocked country. Sporadically changing geostrategic, geopolitical developments in the region will put Afghanistan on a gargantuan position to act as the last odd in the crisscrossed geostrategic web. Afghanistan could use Iran’s seaports as an assimilated option to bypass Pakistan as the only transit route to the Arabia Sea.
Historical geostrategic development in China- Iran relations will have regional implications. China’s massive financial assistance to the Iranian ravaged infrastructure, oil and gas, and transportation will help Iran to be able to connect interspersed dots of regional connectivity. Afghanistan may use Iran’s trade routes to link with the Arabian Sea, China, and Central Asian states. The narrow belt of “Wakhan ” separates Pakistan from Tajikistan and its huge territorial landmass connects with most of the Central Asian states. Iran’s regional status will pave the way for Afghanistan to dictate Islamabad as the only buffer state and the only bridge to connect Islamabad with the rest of Central Asian states.
Trade is the only option to stave-off the lingering sword of distrust and military confrontation. While the world moves on, borders are vanishing, while trade, investment, and energy corridors are becoming the order of the day in a new globalized environment, Afghanistan should follow the powerful currents of change sweeping the world.
Qaiser Mahmood, Student of International Relations, International Islamic university Islamabad