Curbs on media in Afghanistan
BY: AYAANA MALIK
Afghan government’s ban on the Pakistani newspapers 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 nations by the Afghan journalists. Surely, by banning freedom of expression, one can obliterate the truth. The immaturity of the Afghan government in dealing with the situation is evident and does nothing for regional harmony. That the people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan has always been considered as a means of linkage is more than obvious.
This transnational bondage has always defied the existence of physical boundaries and divisions between both countries. That the Afghan’s have always been entertained by Pakistan is more than evident in the case of housing thousands 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 2600km long boundary with the landlocked Afghanistan, Pakistan has also served as its major trading partner with at least 80 percent of Afghanistan’s trade depending upon Pakistan.
This age old bondage, however, is not enough to enhance the bilateral relations between both countries, for which further steps and initiative ought to be taken by the respective governments. Both have borne the brunt of a war three decades back, they will be left alone to lick the wound inflicted by this long war with a horde of extremist groups at their hands to de-radicalise and reintegrate into the society, accompanied by a colossal pressure from the international community and Human rights organizations for not handling things correctly. This reintegration process may take another decade to kickoff as things in the South Asian continent move with a painful slowness.
Instead of focusing unfairly upon 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. The analysis put forward by experts also suggests that Afghanistan is most likely to sink into civil war if US forces were to withdraw. Pakistan has always been the one silent force behind the Afghan strength to fight both the Soviets and the terrorists.