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September 27, 2018
The Kabul Times

Imran Khan & future of Afghan-Pak relations

Pakistan’s election commission has announced that Pakistan’s Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by former cricketer was in lead campaign to two rival parties of PML-N and PPP led by Blawal Bhutto Zardari in recent elections and has won large number of seats in upcoming parliament. This leading position has paved the way for him to be the upcoming Prime Minister of the neighboring country.
Among all key questions on Pakistan domestic and foreign policy, military-difference, economic ties and its international relations, the major question is relations of Afghanistan and Pakistan which have been tensed and challenged for long years and caused countless problems and disputes between the two countries.
Following taking over of Pakistan PM post by Imran Khan whether the relations of the two countries would witness positive or negative changes or would continue like before?
This is the first time that Pakistan political power which was traditionally occupied by one of the two PML-N or PPP transfers to a third party, the PTI and following over 20 years of struggle, for the first time, Imran Khan, the leader of PTI is being prepared to take the position of PM in Pakistan with majority of votes.
Despite of his previous support of Taliban war in Afghanistan, who had called it Jihad, in his recent utterances particularly when it was announced that PTI party has won most votes in elections, he said that wishes good relations between the countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said thatwilling restorations of peace in Afghanistan and would help and assist Afghan peace process, because according to him ‘Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan too’. He would be the first Pashtun ethnic PM of Pakistan.
In the past, his PTI party managed to gain local power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and has been ruling it for many years.
Prior to this, he didn’t show any ethnic interests in his party and in contrary, he has considered himself Pakistani and committed to Pakhtunkhwainto those rights and privileges that other Pakistani provinces have been benefiting. He has been thinking on annexing of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province into legal system and promoting its position in Pakistan establishment and has made certain efforts in this connection.
Several months before, whenever the Pakistan parliament decided to change the legal status of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and like other provinces of Pakistan, this province also be added to legal system of federal government and be administered according to ruling legal laws, it was said that Imran Khan’s PTI played key role in it.
Despite of that, it has been said that he based on ethnic interests of some PTI members as well as considering wars and continued violence going on for many years and have strongly effected both sides of so-called Duran Line, have caused him and his PTI to think on settlement of ongoing war and violence and restrict the scope of wars in this region and that absolutely could leave positive impacts on violence on both sides of Durand Line and relations of Pakistan and Afghanistan and would cause the relations of both countries to enter a new phase and witness positive changes that would make both countries to move towards convergence and cooperation contrary to the past, lay the foundation of a different ties, reduce current problems and disputes and be replaced with good relations based on mutual respect and good neighborliness.
At the same time, there is another opinion that civilian administration led by a prime minister could havepale impacts on relevant affairs particularly on foreign and security policies. Determining policy in these spheres concerned more to military authorities and Army and I.S.I are decisive in this field and civilian administration has less effectiveness.
Meanwhile, civilian governments come and go but leaves no substantial impacts on basic polices specially on foreign policies.
In all these years, Pakistan current foreign policy has been following a strategic debt in Afghanistan and based on the instruction of I.S.I, Pakistan.
Establishment has been preventing formation of a modern, powerful government in Afghanistan and was intending to reach a weak and puppet government to power who would more based on Pakistan order. The Pakistani leaders and rulers have been planning to take over region of our foreign policy and organize its foreign relations according to Pakistan dictates.
Based on this opinion and since Imran Khan relations is very implicated with I.S.I and army rulers, the new government which would be formed soon and led by Imran Khan and his PTI would play the first role in it, would be following those polices that ISI and army prefer them.
Even it has been said that it was ISI and Pakistan army who had already paved all ways for PTI to win the election. Whatever it might be, it is certain that change even small would appear in Pakistan policy. After taking of PM position by Imran Khan and dominating key points of Pakistan policy, absolutely particularly changes should be expected. When he because sure that his PTI was the winner of election and his party defeated the rival parties, he would be intending to bring many changes in Pakistan domestic and foreign policy.
He said that bringing improvement in relations of both countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan and settlement of current problems are at the top of his priorities and has said that in his opinion peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan. Beside that the people who are in his priority, are, Pashtun of his country and the areas in which they are living, have been affected with changes in all these years that strongly damaged Emran Khan tribe.
Bringing change in their living condition are him and his party priority and these changes are not possible without changing of the condition such a way to eliminate the grounds of wars and violence in a region which has many links with Afghanistan territory.
If Imran Khan want to eliminate the contexts of wars, violence and in security in this region forever, he has to take steps in coordination with the Afghan government and remove all the regional problems. All these would cause that certain hopes and optimism be shaped that positive changes in both countries relations are ahead and expect Khan efforts as well as his party to experience a new chapter.
The Kabul Times

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