A few days ago, I was watching an interview of Hina Rabbani Khar, the former Foreign Minister of Pakistan with the leading Pakistani journalist Saleem Safi. She was plainly and curiously asked a question about the negative attitude of Afghans towards Pakistan and why they hate the country so much (after all the good things that Pakistan has done for Afghans like hosting over 3 million refugees for nearly 3 decades)? Miss. Khar gave a somewhat broken and unsatisfactory answer. It made me wonder if the Pakistani establishment is really searching for an answer to that question, which would be very astonishing. But let’s suppose that’s the case. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain and tell the reasons why Pakistan is the least favorite and most unpopular country in Afghanistan?
Ever since the agreement of Chabahar dam, Pakistan has spared no time in sullying, bashing and scapegoating Afghan refugees for all the bad things that’s going on in their country. At the same time, they have also hold it as a prime example of Pakistan’s goodwill towards Afghanistan. It seems like that’s the only card left with them to use it as leverage against Afghanistan. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that how grateful are Afghans for all those refugees that Pakistan has hosted when the Soviet Union attacked Afghanistan decades ago. Our leaders including common people have repeated this gratification whenever they had the opportunity.
I was myself one of the millions refugees growing in Pakistan’s Peshawar city. My family migrated to Pakistan soon after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. We will forever remain grateful for Pakistan’s generosity towards Afghan refugees. That’s a fact. But its also a fact that Pakistan has received millions of dollars over the years as a aid and bounty because of these refugees, and it’s also a fact that the Pakistani establishment has constantly used and abused these poor refuges over the years. They have been perpetual victims (both physical and psychological) of Pakistan’s Police abuse.
They blame them for terrorism, drug trafficking and all other sorts of crimes when the reality is that those refugees have nothing to do with it. They have always remained peaceful and respected the domestic necessities of the host country. Afghan refugees have contributed a significant amount to the growth of Pakistan’s economy, especially the provincial ones. Most of these refugees are hard-working people who are out all day to earn a living for their family and loved ones. They also live in the most deprived areas of Pakistani cities. I have seen all this on my own eyes when I was growing up as a refugee child in Pakistan, and those stories are true to this day. But despite all that, we have overwhelmingly appreciated the generosity of Pakistan that they have extended to Afghan refuges, most of which came from the common people.
The real reason why Pakistan is the least favorite country of every Afghan lays in the fact that Pakistan has been trying to subjugate and suppress Afghanistan through its proxies for decades. It’s summarized in the following three main reasons:
First: When the Soviets left, Pakistan started arming and supporting different parties and factions against each other to burn Kabul – which resulted in civil war.
Second: When the brutal Taliban regime came into being, Pakistan supported, influenced and indoctrinated them for their own benefits and goals of using Afghanistan as their 5th province and strategic depth.
Third: Pakistan’s support for terrorists and terrorism (which includes Taliban as well) after 9/11 against Afghanistan, which is going on actively to this day. Pakistan is condemning terrorism on the one hand and supporting it on the other hand. That’s been their policy since the arrival of US-lead allied forces to Afghanistan after 9/11. We all know the locations and sanctuaries of Taliban; they are not just in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but also in the main cities of that country.
During all those three different periods in history, Pakistan’s goal has been the same and that’s to keep Afghanistan debilitated, divided and needy to their resources so they can control the country against the supposed influence and involvement of their arch-rival, India. The best way to do that (according to Pakistan) is to support proxy terrorist forces in the region. That policy has nonetheless resulted many unintended blowbacks – their support for terrorism and extremism has had an adverse impact on their own country as well. Stories of intolerance and violence are a common theme in Pakistan nowadays.
I hope Pakistan by now has realized the symptoms of Afghans’ agitation and frustration with their country’s establishment. What bothers Afghans the most is Pakistan’s hypocrisy and duplicity in war against terror, not to mention the fatwas of jihad by their leaders in Afghanistan. The point is that Taliban kill us and Pakistan supports them. That’s the reason we detest Pakistan. And the fact is that Pakistan’s support for terrorist groups outweighs all the good the do. So for as long as they continue with that policy, Afghans will harbor the feelings of distaste for them.
(By Pakistan, I mean Pakistan’s civil and military establishment)
View expressed in this article are of the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok’s editorial policy.