Pak-Afghan dialogue: Peace activists plead for early reopening of border

Kabul and Islamabad were asked to ensure that their respective soils were not used for launching attacks

Our Correspondent March 07, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Delegates at an unofficial dialogue between Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday called for immediately reopening the border to address the emerging humanitarian crisis.

“A bilateral approach must be agreed upon and implemented to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future,” read a joint statement issued at the end of the two-day Afghanistan-Pakistan Bilateral (Track II/ I.5) Dialogue on ‘In Pursuit of an Elusive Peace – A diversity of challenges [amid] a bouquet of opportunities’.

The session was organised by the Regional Peace Institute (RPI) in collaboration with the Islamabad chapter of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

The sub-themes at the discussions included the ‘shifting dynamics in the region – impediments and opportunities for mobility and change, spread of radicalisation and the rise of Da’ish – historical, ideological, political and regional perspectives, the need for a joint counter-narrative and mechanism to combat the threat of breakdown in the backdrop of growing uncertainty.

The Afghan delegation emphasised that the Taliban were an integral part of the terrorist movements in both countries.

Yet, members of the Taliban, especially those who accept the Afghan Constitution, could be integrated into mainstream Afghan politics.

According to the statement, some members of the Pakistan delegation agreed with the Afghan contention. A few members of the Pakistani team underscored the need for an Afghan-led reconciliation.

Kabul and Islamabad were asked to ensure that their respective soils were not used for launching attacks inside the other country.

The meeting also decided to form a joint committee comprising elder statesmen, retired diplomats, military officers and technocrats to guide the two governments on various strategic issues. The statement also called for implementing the transit trade agreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan in accordance with international norms.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2017.


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