By Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann
Hubertus Hoffmann: Mr. Habib Malik Orakzai, you are the Founder and Chairman of the Mutahida Qabail Party (MQP), Chairman of the Pakistan International Human Rights Organization (PIHRO), member of the Afghan-Pak Joint Peace Jirga and the International Advisory Board of the World Security Network Foundation: How do you, as leader from the tribal areas (FATA) in Pakistan, see the development in Afghanistan? Will the Taliban take control in Kabul?
Habib Malik Orakzai: Thank you very much for giving me opportunity to share my opinion in such an important issue. I think peace and development are directly proportional to each other. Hence, without peace we cannot guarantee development. In some big cities the developmental work has been started but we need it to extend to the whole of Afghanistan. Negotiations should be started with Taliban and they should be included in the developmental work in the country.
The Taliban are still influential and give the NATO forces a tough time in Afghanistan and we cannot neglect that they could take control after the exit of NATO forces.
Hubertus Hoffmann: Should peace negotiations with the Taliban start and who should be included? What could be the outcome and agreement, a divide between the north and the south?
Habib Malik Orakzai: Yes, the peace negotiations with the Taliban should be started and all stakeholders including Taliban groups and neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Iran should be involved in this process. The peace negotiations could be ascertained without the involvement of these two major stakeholders. The separation of Afghanistan is not possible technically and morally. The people of Afghanistan will not support such a decision that could create more anarchy and violence.
Hubertus Hoffmann: The Kabul government sometimes complained that Pakistan and the ISI play a double game and secretly support the Taliban as they did before 9/11. How do you see the national interest of Pakistan in Afghanistan and with or without the Taliban?
Habib Malik Orakzai: No doubt that Pakistan had been supporting the Taliban before 9/11. But after the 9/11 incident when America imposed war on Afghanistan, Pakistan fully supported America and NATO forces. Without the help of Pakistan, America could not have taken control of Kabul.
The national interest of Pakistan in Afghanistan is a pro-Pakistani government that supports friends of Pakistan. A stable and peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest. Peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan.
Hubertus Hoffmann: Many Western politicians see the tribal areas as safe havens for the Taliban. U.S. President Barak Obama has been ordering many drone strikes on militants. What is your position?
Habib Malik Orakzai: I would say that not only tribal areas in Pakistan are safe heavens for Taliban but the Afghanistan border areas adjoining Pakistan are safer. During the Russian regime the US supported the Jihadi’s training camps in Pakistan, however, after defeating the Russians most of the camps were closed and only some remained. Similarly in Afghanistan such training camps were established and are still in existence in the area bordering Pakistan. Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 troops on the boarder to control militants. Pakistan has also completed several military operations in the areas to control militancy. Pakistan is at the frontline in the war against terrorism and has sacrificed a lot. The attacks of militants from the border areas of Afghanistan on the security forces and locality of Pakistan are clear evidence of the militants’ safe heavens in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 troops on the border to control militants. Pakistan has also completed several military operations in the areas to control militancy. Pakistan is at the frontline in the war against terrorism and has sacrificed a lot.”
Drone attacks undermine the sovereignty of Pakistan. If the US claims to target the militants in drone attacks, we cannot neglect the killings of innocent people including women and children. We strongly condemn the drone attacks and demand the immediate halt of such attacks.
Hubertus Hoffmann: You are the young leader of a new party for the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) next to Afghanistan. Could you describe your political aims? What can and should the West do to promote peace and stability in FATA?
Habib Malik Orakzai: The aims and objectives of the Mutahida Qabail Party (MQP) are very clear. Our main objective is to declare FATA as a province, enabling us to utilize our own resources for the development of land and to uplift the life standard of inhabitants. We also aim to bring peace and stability as a basic need.
We are committed to work for the fundamental rights of neglected tribes and for the social and economic development of land.
Hubertus Hoffmann: The Federal Intelligence Service (BND) of the Federal Republic of Germany supported the fight of the Pakistani forces twice in their wars with India with a lot of aircrafts (90 F-86 Sabre VI former Luftwaffe jets flown via Vadathi in Iran to Peshawar in Pakistan, March to June 1966 ; from Jagdbombergeschwader 43, file No 10-51-12 TgbNr. 288/66) and weapons. This was crucial to defend Pakistan. Is it now time for a clear payback by the Pakistan Forces and ISI under Pashtun custom and support the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan?
Habib Malik Orakzai: We are thankful to the Federal Republic of Germany for supporting Pakistan during that difficult time. The ongoing war in Afghanistan is not the war of the Federal Republic of Germany; it is an imposed war by the US. However, we are friends of friends and we will not leave our friends whenever they are in need.