Afghan ban on Pakistani newspapers
By: JAWAYRIA MALIK
ADDING to the tensions between the neighbouring nations, Afghanistan has banned all Pakistani newspapers in the country to block the Taliban ‘propaganda’ from influencing public opinion. Such moves are not only bound to further strain the already problematic bilateral equation, but also exemplify the sentiments of the US-backed Afghan government.
On the other hand, different factions of Afghan society have rightly criticised such an approach of the Afghan government as reckless and unwise. Before taking such an irrational step, the Afghan authorities should have realised that once the foreign troop pullout is complete, Kabul would need Islamabad’s cooperation in every sphere of life.
It is true that Afghan leaders’ alliance with India is supported by Washington, yet Kabul must keep in mind the vital role that Pakistan can play for peace and prosperity of Afghanistan.
The Afghan authorities should remember and value the age-old Pakistan-Afghan bondage that has always defied the existence of physical boundaries and divisions between the two countries. It is Pakistan which has always entertained Afghan refugees in the thousands by housing them, providing them food, employment opportunities and security.
Both have borne the brunt of a war three decades ago. They will be left alone to lick the wounds inflicted by this long war with a horde of extremist groups at their hands to de-radicalise and reintegrate into society, accompanied by a colossal pressure from the international community and human rights organisations for not handling things correctly.
This reintegration process may take another decade to begin as things in the South Asian continent move with a painful slowness. Hence belligerence, evident through such acts by Afghan officials, must be discouraged for peaceful friendly relations. Instead of focusing unfairly on what Pakistan has allegedly unleashed upon Afghanistan, and reacting by childish ploys a few home truths need to be rammed into the short-term Afghan memory.