Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Kabul, Islamabad Urged to Overcome Mistrust

Kabul, Islamabad Urged  to Overcome Mistrust

ISALAMBAD - The seminar on ‘Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations: Exploring the Way Forward’ was organised by an Islamabad-based think tank, with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES).
Participants of the conference, arranged by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), discussed the question if new avenues could be explored in relations with Afghanistan under the new government in Islamabad.
Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said there had been no shortage of visits and positive statements. Ex-president Hamid Karzai had paid more visits to Pakistan than any other country, he recalled.
The diplomat suggested the relationship be made part of political discourse on both sides. “We need to interact within ourselves, instead of with each other only,” he remarked.
Prominent journalist Rahimullah Yousafzai said there was a lot of optimism in Pakistan when Ashraf Ghani became Afghanistan’s president. But that optimism has vanished as a result of mutual suspicions.
Yousafzai asked the Pakistan government, in order to win over the Afghans, to pursue friendship with all ethnic groups in the neighbouring country instead of cultivating any particular one.
The neighbours needed to interact sincerely on removing misperceptions, the speakers agreed, calling the mistrust a big challenge to improved relations between Kabul and Islamabad.
Lt. Gen. (R) Hamid Khan, former corps commander of Peshawar, noted a “coordinated operation” could be conducted by the two nations against common threats such as the Islamic State.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on awarding citizenship to Afghan refugees also came under discussion. Former diplomat Aziz Ahmed Khan said even if citizenship was not offered, some middle way like resident cards could be found.  (Pajhwok)