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Pak-Afghan Trade Agreement: Diplomatic Nightmare

Living in a capitalist world with an emphasis on trade without
barriers, the recently signed trade agreement between neighbours
Afghanistan and Pakistan shouldn’t have raised any eye brows, but
thanks to our diplomatic machinery it has ended once again with the
masses pointing fingers toward the intentions of those holding “power
corridors”.
       The timing was the biggest issue, with US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton roaming in the region. The ceremony gave the impression as if
it was a hostage situation, with our Ministry & Foreign office hiding
behind the trees rather than upfront to face the queries. If it was
part of a calculated “Confidence Building Measure” episode, why was
Hillary so novice when going on air and claiming that “Mullah Omar and
Bin Laden are hiding inside Pakistan”, of course American have their
own way of building confidence. Not long ago the same situation was
seen when Mr Bilour, Minister for Railway in Pakistan gave his green
signal for rail transit between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Like
many other blunders, the ruling coalition had no option but to deny it
some days later.
       Even a novice knew that any thing with Afghanistan involving India
will raise a storm not only from public, but from our defence sector
too. There is nothing as rocket science involved in the whole issue.
The security situation inside Pakistan, which is still very fragile
can erupt if the use of such agreement goes unchecked. Just to deny a
simple allegation regarding Indian inclusion in this agreement proved
a “mountain climb” for the concerned Ministry and in the end it was
Qamar uz Zaman Kaira who came out and addressed these rumors.

Lets suppose that Indians did become a party to such agreement, still
the suspicions of the masses could have been addressed, even if that
was the case. First of all what was the reciprocal step from India for
giving them such concession? What was the mechanism for the security
check of articles transferred?. Having said this it is crystal clear
that only NATO & ISAF cargo has given our security forces tough time
when it comes to their security, who is going to ensure their safety?
I hope its not “Black Water” which was considered as the 1st choice!
       Secondly, Indians did a massive investment just a few years back by
building a direct route from Afghanistan to Iranian port, in an open
effort to sideline dependency on Pakistan. With conditions like this
one sees no break through even if Indians are included keeping the
above mentioned safeguard in mind. Having said this, the question
still remains regarding the way our policy makers execute and take
different steps. Simple steps become matter of national security due
to the lack of understanding on these issues. No better example but
the case of Kerry-Lugar Bill comes to my mind where a simple folly
brought our Armed forces into direct conflict with the executive
branch.
       The concept of a border less India-Pakistan is no different from what
Woodrow Wilson meant when he gave his 14 points on the eve of League
of Nation formulation. The recent Foreign Minister talks and the
proceeding Press Confrence clearly showed the mistrust between the two
nuclear neighbours. From my side like always, both countries have yet
to learn the basics, which are to respect each other interests and
accept the reality that now both are independent and sovereign
entities. In other words, you embrace only those whom you have learnt
to tolerate first.

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