Afghan and Pakistani officials have attached high hopes to the visit of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who travelled to the neighboring country on a two-day state visit on Thursday morning.
Besides meeting a number of Pakistani officials and politicians, the President also held separate meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Arif Alvi. The meetings focused on wide-ranging talks between the two sides and strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas – including political, trade, economic, security, peace and reconciliation, education and people-to-people exchanges.
The visit is important and eagerly followed by the international and regional countries because it demonstrates that Afghanistan and Pakistan are finally engaging despite Afghanistan’s earlier approach to put a pause on high level engagement since the neighboring country continued open and secret support to the militant group.
Afghanistan and Pakistan’s relations have seen many ups and downs in the course of history and the country’s relationship with Pakistan has been marred by border disputes, proxy wars, and political disagreements ever since the country’s creation in 1947.
But in recent years, the relationship has been on a downward spiral. Pakistan is accused of providing cover for the Taliban, which are relentlessly attacking Afghan and international targets. Meanwhile, Afghans continued to call for international sanctions against Pakistan to give up support of the terrorists.
As violence grows, diplomatic efforts are underway to reconcile the two neighbors. There is a great willingness from the Afghan government to engage with Pakistan and to persevere against the ground realities which are bound to occur in a conflict situation.
The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are bound by fraternal ties reinforced by historical, religious, linguistic and cultural affinities. Closer engagement between the leaders will help foster a stronger and multi-faceted relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghans have been in front line of war on terror and has given much sacrifices in nearly past four decades. It is believed that since Pakistan has a great influence on Taliban as well as supporting certain groups, can play a critical role in peace negotiations between Afghan government and Taliban.
Pakistan has hosted Jihadi figures during Afghan-Soviet war and has been hosting Taliban’s leaders and still playing a great role in training, funding and equipping of the group members. Therefore, Pakistan has the competency and authority to have Taliban adopt a proper way and not be a factor of killing and destruction in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the most important factor at this juncture of time is that Pakistan must pursue its commitments with true intentions. Without Pakistan’s sincere support, no peace would be achieved in the country and it has to understand that without combating the terrorism jointly it is impossible to defeat it in both countries as they share a lengthy and porous border.
President Ghani has time and again said that there is an unexpected hostility between the two countries, an issue which Pakistan have also accepted, but in reaching to a prosperous future, it is needed to renew efforts and joint cooperation, because militancy threats Afghanistan, Pakistan and the whole region.
Since the President once again trusted the neighboring country and travelled to revive the bilateral ties, Pakistan is now required to do more to restore the trust between the two countries and pave the way for enhancing mutual economic and friendly ties.