During a Friday’s consultation in Islamabad, speakers emphasized the crucial need for Pakistan and Afghanistan to initiate renewed negotiations. The move aims to overcome the prevailing deadlock concerning Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and cross-border terrorism.
According to reports, experts have highlighted Pakistan’s inconsistent policy approach towards Afghanistan. They emphasized the need for Islamabad to develop a comprehensive and practical policy for its neighbouring country. This policy should be made public to enhance its effectiveness, as Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper said.
Academics, politicians, journalists, religious scholars, and experts on Afghan affairs from both Pakistan and Afghanistan articulated their perspectives during a consultation focused on “Afghan Peace and Reconciliation: Pakistan’s Interests and Policy Choices.”
The consultation marked the ninth instalment in a series of discussions organized by the Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), a research and advocacy think tank headquartered in Islamabad. Focused on the Afghan peace process, the consultation delved into significant topics such as “Rising terrorism threat from TTP, IS-K (Islamic State Khorasan) and other groups” and “The TTP as a major irritant in Pak-Afghan ties.”
The participants advised Pakistan to engage with the Taliban’s interim government diplomatically, emphasizing the importance of negotiations.
They highlighted the significant role of the ulema. Additionally, they suggested
strengthening counter-terrorism capacities beyond border fencing.
Senior journalist Haroon Rashid highlighted TTP as a critical obstacle in Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. He emphasized the need for a solution to the deadlock and Pakistan’s strategy to weaken TTP.
Mufti Muhammad Qasim Haqqani, a key leader of JUI-F in Chaman, Balochistan, proposed a meeting between local scholars, Pashtun leaders, and Taliban authorities in Kabul to address bilateral concerns, including TTP matters. He also recommended separate Kabul and Islamabad conferences for cross-border issue resolution.
Afghan journalist Muzhgan Feraji discusses denied education and employment rights for Afghan women under the Taliban. She questions the disparity compared to Islamic countries.
“If women have the right to education and employment in Islamic countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, then why cannot they get these rights in Afghanistan?”
Zohra Wahedi Akhtari, an Afghan women’s rights activist, lamented dire conditions under the current government, highlighting women’s victimization by the Taliban’s developmental restrictions. “Taliban have closed all doors of development for Afghan women,” she said.
Dr Salma Malik, Associate Professor of Defense and Strategic Studies at Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University stressed Pakistan’s need for a comprehensive and practical Afghan policy. She emphasized urging the Taliban to ensure online education access for Afghan women.