How COVID-19 reminds to revive Pak-Afghan dialogue for regional peace
The Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of peace and cultivating broader cooperation for the development at societal level though enhanced people to people contacts and sustained parliamentary level exchanges. The people on the both sides of the border of tired of the jingoistic environment and want peace to flourish in order to realizing the investment in healthcare and infrastructure development.
The experts including the diplomats, social and peace activists and journalists shared these agreed thoughts with the audience at online policy dialogue titled ‘Necessity of Revival of Afghanistan-Pakistan Dialogue in Shadow of the Corona Epidemic’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Friday.
Dr Orzala Nemat, Director of Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), while presenting an overview of stability in Afghanistan, said that peace in Afghanistan remains evasive as after a short interval of peace resulted by US-Taliban deal, 2,417 act of the violence have been reported during the last five weeks. She termed in unfortunate that the even the occurrence of deadly pandemic coronavirus could not deter the ongoing violence. Thus, it could lead the country of 35 million people that lack the basic facilities including the healthcare services, to a humanitarian disaster. Therefore, it’s high time for the civil society to come out and play the vibrant role for the peace in Afghanistan.
Mr Asif Durrani, Pakistan’s former ambassador in Afghanistan, said the US-Taliban agreement is the stepping-stone towards the peace process in the country. He said that while talking about peace and stability in Afghanistan, we must keep the vested interest, especially of drug mafia in mind that is beneficiary of the violence. He said that people in the two countries need to talk to each other not to blame but to understand and support each other to bring the stability in Afghanistan.
Dr Ellinor Zeino, Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), Kabul Office, said that the people to people contact and academic exchanges could play key role in enhancing mutual cooperation in different areas. However, the civil society feels threatened and intimidated by the forces of violence and thus, such positive overtures that we have seen from the both sides of the border, are getting weakened now.
Mr Taimur Shamil, analyst and anchor, said that the power struggle between the different political parties in Afghanistan is also hurting the peace process in addition to some negative external influences. He said that the leadership in Pakistan and Afghanistan, for the best interest of the people, need to engage themselves in positive dialogue. He said that the development at the grassroots should be focused and such cooperation has the potential to lead us towards the sustainable process in the region.
Mr Janan Mosazai, former Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, said the areas of cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan need to be identified. , He said Pakistan has a significant role in pushing forward the development cooperation, especially through trade transit and free flow of goods in the region to promote peace.
Ms Ammara Durrani, Independent Analyst, said that the conversation now needs to go beyond the traditional security to a human security paradigm. The element of human development and empowerment is missing in the mutual engagement and it’s the key issue to be redressed while focusing on the development. Dr. Fatemah Kamali, Visiting Fellow of SDPI, highlighted the importance of enhanced people to people contact and strengthening the trade and said that the people of both the countries have a shared future and thus need to work together to realize it. Ends_