Regional peace

Editorial Board
Monday, Apr 15, 2024

In a recent phone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries. During the call, President Zardari also stressed the need to enhance the exchange of information to overcome the security challenges being faced by both Iran and Pakistan. Over the last two decades, Pakistan has fought hard to rid its soil of terrorism and terrorist groups. Unfortunately, terrorism made a comeback in Pakistan shortly after the fall of Kabul. Pakistan has always tried to have good relations with its neighbouring countries and has consistently talked about regional peace. From Pakistan’s perspective, good relations with its neighbours – especially India, which is considered a hostile neighbour – is vital for regional peace.

China has remained a strong and steady partner of Pakistan over the decades. There have been terrorist attacks targeting the Chinese in Pakistan over the years but China has still always been a key friend of Pakistan. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was perceived to be less hostile than the previous Afghan governments of Ashraf Ghani and Hamid Karzai but the Afghan Taliban have turned out to be a complex problem for Pakistan as they are harbouring terrorist outfits like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on its soil. Because of this, Pakistan had to carry out an intelligence-based operation in Afghanistan’s border areas, targeting militants. Back in January, relations between Iran and Pakistan also suffered a blow when Iran carried out unprovoked air strikes in Balochistan. The National Security Committee (NSC) reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to respond with “full might” in the face of a violation of its territorial integrity. The NSC meeting took place after Pakistan carried out a strike targeting Pakistani-originated Baloch terrorists residing in the ungoverned spaces inside Iran in a tit-for-tat response to Iran’s strikes. The diplomatic row escalated quite quickly as Pakistan recalled its ambassador from Tehran and expelled the Iranian ambassador. Soon after Pakistan’s retaliatory strikes, though, things calmed down.

Regional peace is vital for all countries. Unfortunately, we have a regime in Afghanistan that refuses to take action against the TTP and other assorted terrorist groups. Iran has been a good neighbour but there have been tensions due to Baloch militants escaping to Iran. The real bone of contention in the region has been India under Modi. The general elections in India are around the corner and experts say that Modi will make another comeback for the third time. The ball is in India’s court if it wants to normalize relations with Pakistan as our governments over the years have extended an olive branch to India but after the abolition of the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir, India has only become more antagonistic. China being a key ally of Pakistan is also a problem for India but our relations with China cannot be held hostage to these things. We hope that all countries realize the power of diplomacy so peace can finally prevail in the region.