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Af-Pak peace efforts: The real snag is still lying ahead

By       Message Roohul Amin     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 4/1/12







KABUL : Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief Kayani and DG of ISI Shuja Pasha discussing peace overtures with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai.


After a lengthy span of frayed relations and stalemate at last the silence is over.

There is no less a positive tiding for the entire of South Asia than that the Pakistani Prime Minister along with his delegation comprised of top military brass, the head of the most infamous covert agency, the ISI, and its foreign minister arrived in Kabul on Saturday shortly after the Karzai announcement about the transition of power from foreign forces to Afghan forces.

In so many past instances, Afghan-Pakistan leaders have attempted to patch together relations between Kabul and Islamabad --but most attempts have failed while trying to become a milestone for developing peaceful relations.

But this time around Kabul is too sanguine regarding the resumption of efforts at putting negotiation of Af-Pak ties back on the right track. For the first time a Pakistani leader wearing plain clothes is accompanied by the top military leader, General Kayani and the Chief of Inter Services Intelligence, General Pasha.

Let us hope for the best in this situation because peace and stability in the region is linked to the sincerity of Pakistan's genuine participation. It has never happened before that an ISI chief has visited Kabul for such a meeting. It shows that now the Pakistani General Head Quarters and its Intelligence officials, based at Abpara--the Head Quarter of ISI--, have felt the need reconsider their old, possibly outdated policies regarding Afghanistan. It is now believed among the journalists and intellectuals' circles of Pakistan that to be at loggerheads with Kabul is not a political position favourable to Islamabad. For that reason, the Pakistani media should also get laurels, as it has been intensely stressing upon the need for Pakistani civilian leadership, as well as military participation, so that both should attempt for reconciliation with Kabul.

Though it was the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai who invited Pakistani Prime Minister to visit Kabul, it was Yousuf Raza Gilani who induced the military leaders to accompany him on his visit to Kabul so that the world community and especially Afghans could be shown that both the Pakistani government as well as its military are both on the same page regarding relations with Kabul.  

Another factor that brought the Pakistani leaders to Kabul is the ongoing talks with the Afghan Taliban. Islamabad still believes that without talks with the Taliban it would be futile to hope for peace to return to the region.

It will be good for both the sides if peace makes its way back into the Af-Pak region. It will be seen as productive in future if that is how the cat makes its way out of the bag, because the talks with Taliban spokespersons in Turkey have not had much progress. 2014 is too far off, therefore it still could be premature to be too hopeful about peace and stability returning to the region.

Because peace in the region is bound to the ongoing talks with the Taliban and the withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan, until sufficient progress for those two things takes place, Islamabad may simply continue to play a game of words alone and might not allow the situation to progress towards peace. We can only be hopeful that Islamabad changes its posturing.

 

The writer is a Kabul-based journalist and can be reached at: afghan. Email address removed


 

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The writer is a Kabul-based journalist and contributes articles to English dailies in Kabul and Peshawar.

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