PEACE loving quarters are deeply vexed over alarmingly rising violence in Afghanistan. Restoration of peace is not only a matter of concern for Kabul but it equally bothers Islamabad as well on many accounts. Pak PM’s maiden visit to Kabul and significantly positive response from official quarters emerged as a ray of hope in dark turbulent times. President Ashraf Ghani was right in calling it a historic tour amid universally acknowledged Pak contributions for the success of ongoing complex peace process. No one can deny that restoration of peace and durability of regional peace largely depends upon Pak-Afghan mutual trust and cooperation. There is no room for violence, coercion, terrorism and foreign sponsored proxies as a peace can’t coexist with such devilish traits. Terror ridden Afghanistan is more than ever shocked over meaningful rocket attacks and IED blasts in Kabul within couple of days of Pak PM’ tour. It is not hard to comprehend that who gets benefited with the violence once peace remains common desire of Kabul and Islamabad. Almost a week back, irrefutable evidences of Indian state-sponsored terrorism against Pakistan were disclosed in an unprecedented joint Press conference by FM Qureshi and DG ISPR at Islamabad. Shock waves of this eye opening press conference are still felt in New Delhi, which can offer nothing in response except fabricated false allegations and stage managed episodes of extra-judicial encounters. Pak-dossier explicitly mentioned that Indian proxies operating from Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan through terrorism and ethnic separatist movements. Obviously, this issue must have been formally conveyed to the highest quarters in Kabul during PM’s recent tour. Most apparently, Pak serious concerns about Indian patronage to terrorists on Afghan soil had been conveyed to American quarters during discussions on peace process.
Being an important party in Afghan peace process, though US acknowledges Islamabad’s positive efforts but adopts a mysterious silence over Indian patronage to terrorist proxies poised against Pakistan. President Trump, in his evidently last weeks of presidency, has signaled to withdraw almost 2500 troops from Afghanistan by mid of January. This drawdown is coming when the intra-Afghan dialogue at Doha still in deadlock over setting up the agenda. If the history of hasty withdrawal is repeated in Afghanistan by the US, it would fuel more violence and instability. Pakistan and Afghanistan, being the immediate stakeholders, cannot afford the continuation of unrest anymore. As the US response matters a lot in present scenario, much of it will reveal after formal stepping in of Joe Biden in the White House after mid of January. New Delhi is pinning high hopes with Biden Administration assuming India the sole counter balance available to US against rising influence of China. Modi regime’s advisors firmly believe that new team in Washington would follow the old policies due to China centric compulsions.
It is not easy to precisely predict US’ policy shift about South Asia by Joe Biden but major reversal seems least possible. If Washington shows no interest in harnessing the peace spoiler Modi regime, then Pakistan will surely be facing a complex challenge of dealing with Indian state sponsored terrorism at external and internal fronts. At the moment, India is in no mood to consider peace as an option at regional front. New Delhi has locked horns with Beijing at the LAC. Fascist RSS’ hatemongers are rapidly furthering Hindutva agenda to convert the Muslims in minority in IIOJK. This hateful acceleration is so offensive even ex puppet CMs like Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omer Abdullah have started opposing from the platform of Gupkar Alliance. In order to shroud the naked aggression and human rights violations in IIOJK, New Delhi is using the old tactics of propagating fabricated allegations of cross-border terrorism against Pakistan. After staging fake encounter of four Kashmiris in Nagrota area, now whole Indian state machinery including PM Modi is busy in blaming Pakistan without any credible evidence. Credibility of Indian claims of hunting down the terrorists remains extremely doubtful in the backdrop of army’s recent official confession of Shopian fake encounter which took the life of three innocent Kashmiri labourers. Indian false allegations have been loudly rejected by Pak Foreign Office and counter responded by China through a strong message. Beijing minced no words in acknowledging Pak contribution against terrorism and expressing the resolve to safeguard the CPEC against Indian sponsored conspiracies. Future course of the regional peace, more evidently, is going to shape up in the context of US-China relations. Policies of US and exploiting potential of its desperate strategic ally India, will deeply impact the regional dynamics. While New Delhi aspiring anxiously to be a regional [super] power by siding with US against China, it remains a big strategic challenge for Islamabad to safeguard the national interests on multiple fronts. National leadership needs to apply collective wisdom to deal with the challenges directly linked to Kashmir issue, Afghan peace, CPEC vis-a-vis relations with China, Indian-sponsored terrorism, economic deterioration and complex bilateral ties with the US.
—The writer is a freelancer who often contributes in national newspapers.