Thursday, December 3, 2020

“A Shared Vision”: The future of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations?

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During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Afghanistan, both countries have agreed to work on a formal, ‘sutainable and durable’ peace that does not allow enemies of either country to use their respective soils to destabilize Pakistan or Afghanistan.

The formal name given to this document is ‘A shared vision.’ Afghanistan and Pakistan have in this document thus far agreed on intelligence sharing and joint intelligence operations. These measures are part of a larger tangible timeline, with strategic actions to curb ‘anti-peace’ elements from both countries. The document also cites an agreement on enhancing regional connectivity, trade, and communication.

The document seeks better cooperative partnerships between the two countries in political, economic and social spheres. A timeline has been established to achieve tangible goals in bids to enhance cooperation. The document also includes an agreement reached in September this year between the two countries wherein willful collaboration was agreed upon for the furtherance of peace and stability in both their countries as well as the wider region.

Read more: Australian special forces ‘unlawfully killed’ 39 in Afghanistan

By December this year, a ‘re-energizing’ of the joint intelligence services-led operations of analyzing, mapping, and cooperation against ‘enemies of peace’ is expected.

According to a statement by an official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Pakistan Today Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed played a crucial part in facilitation of the agreement between the two countries. DG ISI Hameed was present during the Prime Minister’s visit to Afghanistan.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to key issues that were important to the respective countries.

Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed that they should ‘enjoy a special relationship’ based on predictability, transparency, mutual and full respect for one another’s sovereignty, and on expanding and furthering their mutual interests through state-to-state mechanisms.

The agreement also professed that Afghanistan’s multi-lateral relationships with various countries was a welcome opportunity and “presents a real opportunity for the two countries to exploit and conversely presents no threat.”

As mentioned above, key elements of the document also included the agreement that neither country’s territory should be used for “malicious purposes” against the other’s territory, and that both countries should work together to “identify and tackle enemies of peace.”

Trade was a big part of the new document with agreements to create better regional connectivity, free movement of people, goods and services, opening of trade and customs posts, and transport and energy infrastructure development, aiming for regional development dividends greater than what each country might expect to achieve alone.

Another issue that was agreed upon was the return of Afghan refugees to their country in a dignified and timely fashion.

By January 1, 2021, the two countries are also expected to formulate a joint proposal for refugees’ return, elevating and intensifying treatment of the issue, to the point for taking a credible and progressive action.

The neighbors also agreed on a joint proposal to enhance regional connectivity by January 1, 2021, in a way that is beneficial to both countries but also the region at large.

 Pakistan wishes for peace in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan assured Afghanistan, during his visit, that Pakistan would do whatever it could in order to curb the violence in war-torn Afghanistan.

“The whole idea of [my] coming at a time when violence is increasing in Afghanistan is to assure you that we, the people and the Government of Pakistan, have only one concern: that we want peace.” Prime Minister Imran Khan said during a joint press conference with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.

“We feel the people of Afghanistan have suffered for four decades, and if ever a human community needed peace, it is Afghanistan,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, while visiting Kabul yesterday was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, DG ISI Lieutenant General Hameed, Adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and other dignitaries.

“If you feel there is somewhere Pakistan can help [in reducing violence], please let us know,” The Prime Minister had requested.

Read more: Foreign forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan is not ‘hasty’

He said that the only way that peace and stability could be brought to the previously violence struck tribal regions of Pakistan, and the regions acroos the border was close trade and cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We assure you that we will do whatever is within our reach,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the Afghan president said that he had a very productive engagement with PM Imran. He said, “A comprehensive political settlement for enduring peace within the framework of our values and our constitution is the future of Afghanistan.” He added that violence is not the answer to any conflict.

Ghani said, “We can move forward and a comprehensive ceasefire can be achieved.”

GVS News Desk

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