By Barkat Ullah
In past, Pakistan has never supported Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and other leaders like him in Afghanistan. The main focus of Pakistan was always either Taliban or Gul Badin Hikmatyar. On the contrary majority of leaders from northern alliance were inclined towards India and Iran. For instance, at a time when Ahmad shah Masood along with Abdullah Abdullah captured Kabul, they strengthened its ties with India and Iran. At that time Pakistan backed Gul Badin Hikmatyar and his ally Rashid Dustam for overthrowing Ahmad Shah Masood. Similarly, if we look to the situation through the l nses of politics, Pakista supported Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani, in general elections respectively against Abdullah Abdullah. But recently a shift is witnessed in approach of Pakistan towards Afghanistan when it invited Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan after a long time, and was not only warmly welcomed, but he also met political and military leadership of the host country. Earlier a high-level delegation of Taliban also visited Pakistan, which discussed peace process with Pakistan officials. There are a number of reasons for Pakistan changing approach of engaging other stakeholders along with Taliban in peace process. After the retreat of Taliban, India has used the soil of Afghanistan against Pakistan constantly. Instability in Afghanistan played important role in bringing unrest and insurgency in former FATA and KPK. Pakistan has realized the sensitivity of situations, and is trying to engage maximum people in peace process. Through these efforts, Pakistan wants a clear and distinct solution to long war in Afghanistan. In this regard Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan, and in future it is expected that Pakistan would like to invite other stakeholders like Hamid Karzai and Rashid Dustam too. The aims are that to take all main actors on board to make sure success of peace. Moreover, the deal of US and Taliban seems more a political stunt of US rather a sincere effort of peace. The president Donald Trump did it because of presidential elections which held in November. The US probably doesnt want complete peace in a country which is on the door steps of those powers which have rivalry with the US. Central Asian States are of tremendous importance to China due to their mineral’s rich attributes, and the only short and effective path to these states is through Afghanistan. China and the US are already engaged in trade war, therefore US probably wants a constant headache to China as well as to Russia in shape of Afghanistan. From Pakistan perspective, success of CPEC and economic prosperity of Pakistan is highly dependent on stability in Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan has adopted a proactive policy of taking all parties in confidence and it is Pakistan is eager to bring peace in Afghanistan. Unlike past, Pakistan has changed its approach to Afghanistan, along with Taliban now it is taking all stakeholders, because Pakistan’s influence on Taliban is decreasing. It is not because of any misunderstanding between Pakistan and Taliban, but it is because of changing Taliban’s status. Taliban became global actor recognized unofficially as political agent by international powers, and it intends to make sure smooth relations not only with Pakistan but with other regional powers like Iran, China and Russia as well. Therefore, Pakistan also aims to engage other actors along with Taliban in Afghanistan for future proceedings.
(-The writer is a freelance columnist.)