The Pakistan Factor: Peace in Afghanistan!

The Pakistan Factor: Peace in Afghanistan!N.P.Upadhyaya, : Diplomacy never takes a straight course. It is an art of dealing with people or for that matter countries in a sensitive and effective way. Diplomacy is much more than what one observes. It is also what we fail to understand or even guess in advance. It is what remains at times even ignored but later takes a formal shape. And what is most important of it all that in diplomacy there is no “free lunch” as such.
Each country has its own interests. It is this interest of an individual country that makes it to align/or dissociate with other country or countries to extract benefits for one’s own country or countries. So what is of primary concern is one’s national interests.

This is what has happened with the Indian establishment this time fortunately. India thought that the world leaders who smiled at PM Modi, had in effect began to love him. It was not that what is being picturised in some Bollywood films.

“Woh hans key miley mujhsey…ham pyar samajh baithey… (He or she smiled at me, and I guessed that he/she has actually fallen in love with me).

India-the regional disaster, which took itself as an essential component in addressing the Afghanistan’s lingering imbroglio had been left this time by the world powers, for example, the US, China, Russian federation, high and dry and in the deep blue ocean when these countries confirmed that it should be Pakistan but not India which must be included in the four countries’ team/alliance in order to bring about a permanent peace in Afghanistan as desired by the US and other countries who prefer peace over war.

The exclusion of India apparently also means that the countries, the US, Russia and China, thought that the inclusion of India may damage the entire peace prospects in Afghanistan and that India could not be a stakeholder in the Afghani affairs as regards the prevalence of permanent peace in the region, Gulf included.

Apart from this possibility, the South Asian nations take India as a destructive country to which they themselves have braved the Indian atrocities at different intervals of time. Ask Nepal if any hesitation in taking India the way as presented here in this story.

The 2015 inhumane Indian economic blockade imposed on Nepal still haunts Kathmanduites frankly speaking.

Nepal matters more for India than what is its reverse. India needs Nepali waters, leaders and Indian nationals working in Nepal send billions and billions of Rupees back home to India as remittance. So Nepal matters for India much more than what India matters for Nepal. If India has any doubt, close or regulate the borders.

In fact India did not even know that the high flying and serious representatives of the US, China, and Russian Federation were engaged in Beijing, July 11-12, 2019, and were in a serious mood aimed arriving at an all satisfying solution to the Afghanistan imbroglio.

A highly panicked Indian scholar Mr. Bhadra Kumar with a very heavy heart, July 15, 2019, writes in his fresh article that the special envoys of the four countries who met in Beijing have issued a joint statement underscoring their consensus on peacemaking in Afghanistan and signaling their intention to speed up the peace process to a final settlement.

The joint statement issued by these countries speaks of: first and foremost, as writes Bhadra Kumar in his aforementioned write up, that the trilateral US-Russia-China format on Afghanistan has been expanded to include Pakistan, given the shared belief of the three big powers that “Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan.”

Why this Indian scholar is in a panicked state could easily be felt in that he doesn’t find India in the list of the nations which have taken a determination to bring in peace in Afghanistan for all time to come.

Other sources claim that the second point in the statement that have been issued in Beijing this July 11, 2019, states that “the four countries have endorsed the intra-Afghan meetings in Moscow and Doha in the recent months and called on relevant parties to “immediately start intra-Afghan negotiations between the Taliban, Afghan government, and other Afghans” with a view to “produce a peace framework as soon as possible.”

Scholar Bhadra Kumar’s panic is understandable in that if he misses his country, India, then on the contrary and to his utter dismay unexpectedly observes the name of Pakistan in the list of the countries adjudged as one of the “key” countries whose support in finding the solution to the Afghani problem was very important and significant.

And this is perhaps the reason in quintessence for which Pakistan has been housed in the set of the countries that are now to chart the future course of peace in Afghanistan.

The Russian Federation and China jointly came to a conclusion that Pakistan’s inclusion in Afghan peace process was important because of it’s strategic position in the region and it’s future role in the global political order.

The US special representatives Zalmay Khalilzad too appears to have convinced his administration to include Pakistan together with China, Russia, the US and now Pakistan.

The leaders of China and the Russian Federation had met Prime Minister Imran Khan at time of the Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO) recently held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The third important point in the Beijing statement is that these countries, US, Russia and China, have urged that the peace framework should “guarantee the orderly and responsible transition of the security situation and detail an agreement on a future inclusive political arrangement acceptable to all the Afghans.”

Similarly, the fourth point in the joint statement of the Beijing meet “encourages the Afghan parties to scale down violence “leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations.”

Finally, the four countries, Russia, US, China and Pakistan, have resolved to maintain the momentum of their consultation and “will invite other important stakeholders to join on the basis of the trilateral consensus agreed on April 25, 2019 in Moscow, and this broader group will meet when intra-Afghan negotiations start.”

All in all, the Four-Party mechanism shall hereafter lead the troubled Afghan peace process –which shall obviously include the monitoring of the peace progress, mentoring the Afghan heroes, fine-tuning the intra-Afghan negotiations and so on.

“It also signifies that Pakistan has inflicted a heavy defeat on India in the decade-old proxy war in Afghanistan”, so sums up, (rather admits), the Indian scholar Bhadra Kumar in his article which is titled “India loses Afghan Proxy War dated 15 July 2019.

While Indian omission from the Beijing talks held in between Russia, China and the US has irked the Indian establishment, the upcoming visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to the USA must have mentally disturbed the brains of those movers and shakers in Delhi who take sadistic pleasure in damaging the US-Pakistan relations.

Now S Jay Shankar has reasons to damage the peace prospects in Afghanistan. Hopefully he keeps himself engaged in this act as per the established Indian habits.

PM Khan is leaving for the US this July 20 and is all set to meet President Donald Trump on July 22, 2019.

Pakistan said Tuesday its cooperation in facilitating ongoing peace talks between the United States and the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan has led to a “gradual warming up” in Islamabad’s turbulent relationship with Washington.

In fact, Pakistan can restore its warm ties with the US if it helps the US in getting out from Afghanistan and keeps the Beijing process, July 11, 2019, alive and kicking but keeping its heads high.

The more Pakistan is of support to the USA on Afghanistan affairs, the more the nation shall come closer to the US whose net result shall be a peaceful and politically stable South Asia which as of now is under the domination of the declared regional bully-the Indian establishment.

Unfortunately, the US has yet to learn as to what India means to its smaller South Asian neighbors including Nepal.

Ultimately the US shall be cheated by India, so believe the South Asian political observers. It is only a matter of time.

Thus a strong Pakistan, as we have been stressing in our previous articles since long, is a strong and the most needed political as well as nuclear deterrent for South Asia.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while making an address to a seminar held in Islamabad has said that “Khan’s visit to the U.S. is aimed at seeking a “broader” bilateral engagement, although he asserted that the main agenda would definitely be peace in Afghanistan.

Minister Qureshi said that President Trump’s invitation to Khan underscored the “inherent importance of the relationship” for both the countries.

Islamabad takes credit for arranging the U.S.-Taliban talks that started nearly a year ago.

“Pakistan has welcomed President Trump’s farsighted decision to pursue a political solution in Afghanistan, which in fact was an endorsement of our own position espoused for a long time,” Qureshi told the seminar in Islamabad, so writes Ayaz Gul on July 16, 2019.

Qureshi insisted his government has been facilitating the U.S.-Taliban talks in “good faith” and as a “shared responsibility” to promote regional peace and security.

PM Khan and President Donald Trump-both celebrities-turned-politicians have clashed in the past, with the Pakistani premier once describing a potential meeting with the US president as a “bitter pill” to swallow.

A Pakistani media man turned political man Mushahid Hussain, who also heads the Pakistani Senate’s foreign affairs committee, told VOA recently that the better U.S.-Pakistan ties are needed to promote peace in Afghanistan.

For the present friendly relations of the US and Pakistan, Nepali observers claim that it was the Republican Senator Lindsay Graham who had visited Pakistan in January and upon his return to the US had urged President Trump to meet PM Khan.

“Prime Minister Khan was criticized over the decades, over the past 10 or 20 years, about talking about reconciling with the Taliban. He was right,” Graham said, according to a video from a news conference he held in Islamabad prior to his departure to the US, so write Diaa Hadid for the NPR website dated July 19, 2019.

“It is a needed victory for Khan, some analysts say. He has struggled to deliver promises of jobs and prosperity that he promised during elections last year. Instead, he has accepted an IMF bailout of $6 billion and faces widespread public anger over rising prices and a sinking currency at the moment, adds Diaa Hadid for the NPR online portal.

(The National Accountability Bureau, NAB, has arrested former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi). He has been arrested on corruption charges). Abbasi had visited Nepal in the capacity of Pakistan Prime Minister in 2017-18?

But will the upcoming US support for Pakistan shall be a free lunch? Not at all. The US may press Pakistan to support Washington’s efforts to pressure Iran, so believe Nepali observers who have been watching swings seen in the South and the Central Asian politics, Iran included, of late more so after the sudden emergence of tensions in between Iran and the US developed. Iran and the US are close to a war like situation.

In the meanwhile, the adviser to Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, on National Security Sarwar Ahmad Zai has said relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are on positive trajectory.
Addressing a news conference along with Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi in Islamabad this Friday, he appreciated Pakistan for reopening the airspace between Afghanistan and India.

All these developments put together, what could be expected in advance that if Pakistan plays well, the country shall benefit which shall stabilize the entire South and the Central Asian region. It is here that PM Khan and FM Qureshi’s diplomatic acumen shall be tested by their own agitated population. South and central Asian nations need peace and political stability at the moment which shall only be possible if and when Pakistan acquires the capabilities of a political deterrent to the declared regional hegemon.

For the Road: Journalists Bill Spindle and Saeed Shah for the Wall Street Journal dated July 19, 2019, write almost convincingly that “after years of discord over Afghanistan, Pakistan is now cooperating with the U.S. to help pressure the Taliban to strike a peace deal, with the aim of extricating the U.S. from its longest war.

The cooperation-also highlighted by Pakistan’s arrest this week of a militant leader long wanted by the U.S. and India—helped pave the way for Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to visit President Trump at the White House next Monday.

PM Khan, reports say, has already left his country for the USA. That’s all.


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