Border Disputes between Pakistan and Afghanistan: Historical, political and Strategic Perspective Introduction:
Pakistan came in to being on Islamic ideology revolving around the concept of Muslim Ummah and destined to be a symbol of universal Islamic solidarity across the globe. According to the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, ‘A cardinal feature of this ideology (of Pakistan) is to make Muslim brotherhood a living reality. It is therefore, part of the mission which Pakistan has set before itself to do every thing in its power to promote closer fellowship and cooperation between Muslim countries’. It was with this background that Pakistan, since its inception, pursued every step that could bring Muslim world closer at one platform. Its one of the fundamental principle has been to establish brotherly relations with the Muslim countries. Pakistan succeeded in cherishing very cordial relations with every Muslim country baring Afghanistan. In case of Afghanistan geographical location has acted more negatively than the binding role the Muslim faith was expected to play. In case of Pak-Afghan relations Lord Curzon’s (former Viceroy of India) saying seems to be worth mentioning here, ‘frontiers are indeed the razor’s edge on which hang suspended the modern issues of war and peace, of life or death to nations’ seems proving to be correct. It is regrettable fact of the history that from the time of Pakistan’s birth, Afghanistan has maintained an attitude of hostile neighbor and Pakistan has to live with it because neighbors can not be changed. At the heart of Afghanistan’s indifferent attitude towards Pakistan were the issues of Durand Line and Pakhtoonistan. Both of the issues were based on Afghanistan’s ambitions of regaining control of NWFP and other areas which, for a brief period, were part of Ahmad Shah Abdali’s conquered territories. During 1940s, when it became apparent that Britain is likely to free India, the Government of Afghanistan asked Britain that in the event of the demission of British authority the whole Pathan country as far as the Indus should revert to Afghan sovereignty or the people of NWFP be given choice of independent Pathan state. Since then Afghanistan is playing self-styled champion’s role for the establishment of, ‘Pakhtoonistan’. The rationale sounded of the Pakhtoonistan was that since India was partitioned between Hindus and Muslims therefore, by parity of reasoning; there should be a further partition to provide the Pakhtoons with their own home land also. The proponent of the claim forget that Pakistan’s inception was not based on the ethnic reason but, rests on religious, cultural, historic and economic consideration. Referendum results held for the future of NWFP, 289244 votes in favour and 2874 against7, clearly demonstrate the desire of the inhabitants of the area in absolute term. People of the Tribal Agencies, without exception, stated that they were part of Pakistan and wished to preserve same relations with Pakistan as they had with the British. Afghanistan was the only country around the world that opposed Pakistan’s entry in United Nation in September 1947. For the purpose of better understanding of the issue and coherency of the events Pak- Afghan relations are described into three phases. This phase wise distribution of the events would help in acquiring in-depth sight of the happenings that shaped the bilateral relation to its present course. Phase-I: The Ill Fated Start of the Bilateral Journey (1947-1963) The phase marks the ill fated beginning of the bilateral relations, commencing from the establishment of Pakistan in 1947 and continues till 1963. The phase describes how the seeds of conflict and discord were sown and promoted between the two brotherly neighbors by the vested interests. Describing Pak Afghanistan relations President Ayub Khan identified two misconceptions amongst Afghans that influenced future course of inter state relations in negative...
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