By: AYAANA MALIK
The Afghan government has banned Pakistani newspapers, which clearly exemplifies the sentiments of the US-backed Afghan government, while the criticism arising from within the Afghan community for such an approach shows that the people do not view the curb as a sensible step. In fact, there is a call for dialogue between the two nations by the Afghan journalists. Surely, by banning information one can hardly obliterate the truth. The immaturity of the Afghan government in dealing with the situation has become evident, which would do little in developing the much-needed regional harmony.
That the people to people contact between Pakistan and Afghanistan has always been considered as a means of linkage is more than obvious. This trans-national bond has always defied the existence of physical boundaries and divisions between the two countries. That the Afghans have always been welcomed by Pakistan is more than evident in the case of housing millions of refugees during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The lack of employment opportunities had also compelled many to seek their livelihood across the border. Being linked by an approximately 2,600 km long boundary with landlocked Afghanistan, Pakistan has also served as its major trading partner with at least 80 percent of the former’s trade depending upon the latter.
This age-old bond, however, has not been enough to enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries, for which further steps and initiatives ought to be taken by the respective governments. Both had borne the brunt of wars spreading over three decades. And once the western forces are gone we will again be left to lick the wounds with a horde of extremist groups on our hands to be de-radicalised and reintegrated into society. This reintegration process may take another decade to even kick off. The analysis put forward by experts also suggests that Afghanistan is most likely to sink into a civil war once the US forces withdraw.