By Ahsan Zaheer
Pakistan as a responsible neighboring country, always offered massive relief assistance to Afghan people to help them in every difficult time. No one can deny the role of Pakistan in bringing peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Pakistan has extended its financial and technical support to Afghanistan in various fields, including health, education, business, trade and infrastructure.
Pakistan has contributed $1 billion to support the reconstruction of war-ravaged Afghanistan by building hospitals, schools and roads to manifest its commitment for a prosperous Afghanistan. Pakistan government and military are trying their best for the complete peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Despite being the biggest victim of US- Afghanistan war, Pakistan played an imperative role as a facilitator in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. Pakistan brought the Taliban to the negotiating table and stressed the importance of forming an inclusive political government. Pakistan used its influence over key Afghan stakeholders to end Afghan conflict.
Pakistan had played a vital role in the safe evacuation of nearly 80,000 people from 42 countries and nationalities, including diplomats and UN officials from Kabul after US hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Since September 2021, over 14,945 tons of humanitarian assistance had been sent to Afghanistan via 694 trucks and four C130 planes under arrangements of Pak-Afghan Cooperation Forum.
Last November, Former Prime Minister Imran Khan announced over $28 million medical, food, and other humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan owing to the economic crisis that emerged after Taliban took control of Kabul.
For Education sector, Pakistan gave Rs11.2 billion ($63 million) education package for Afghan students and planning to establish a university campus in Kabul. The Ministry of Education and Professional Training package “includes 3,000 scholarships, free training with stipends for 5,000 Afghan nationals, free training for 150 Afghan teachers, 100 nursing diploma scholarships, and the establishment of an AIOU (Allama Iqbal Open University) regional campus in Kabul to improve the education sector and skill development.
Pakistan government is offering scholarships to Afghan youth for their capacity building through imparting quality education to 4500 scholars in various fields including Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, and Management and Computer science etc. The aim of this scheme is to fortify bilateral relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan and it will also improve people to people interaction between both neighboringcountries.
For health sector, Pakistan had also sent a team of engineers and technicians to Afghanistan for installation and commissioning new medical equipment worth Rs 2 billion ($11 million) in various Afghan hospitals. In 2019, Afghanistan’s second-largest Jinnah Hospital with 200-bed capacity was opened in Kabul costing more than $24 million as part of Pakistan’s contribution to reconstruction and development efforts. In Logar Province, Pakistan built Naib Aminullah Logari Hospital which cost US$ 20 million. Pakistan also built 14 mobile medical units which cost Rs. 58,020 million.
Besides, Pakistan and China are planning to extend CPEC to Afghanistan which shows Pakistan’s firm commitment to a peaceful, stable, prosperous Afghanistan.
Pakistan has never acted as a traditional donor country which is clear from its four decades of hosting of three million Afghan refugees and facilitation of Afghan peace process prior to Taliban takeover in August 2021.
In Afghan-US war, one who really suffered is people of Afghanistan. Children and women are badly affected and deprived from their rights. Pakistan as a responsible neighbor is playing its part but now it is the time for the world to show up for the better and peaceful Afghanistan.
Ahsan Zaheer is a freelance journalist and Islamabad based analyst.