ISSN 2330-717X

Pak-Afghan Friendship After Foreign Forces Withdrawal – OpEd

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Pakistan and Afghanistan have deep rooted bonds of history, culture, geography and faith. Always Pakistan extended a helping hand to Afghanistan and continues to stand by their Afghan brothers and sisters. Pakistan is an active partner to support economic and social development there. For this purpose, Pakistan has invested in building its relationships with Afghanistan in several fields including education, health as well as communication infrastructures of Afghanistan. 

Thousands of Afghan students have graduated from Pakistani universities, with many of them availing scholarships during decades of conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan is actively considering new proposals from Afghan government to overcome all challenges faced by them. Pakistan has invested in the Education Project, Training Program, Healthcare Sector, Road and Transport Sector and also supported Afghanistan in General Assistance Field.  

Pakistan is committed to enable Afghan Youth in education sector in order to help them rebuild their own war torn country. Pakistan has launched Allama Iqbal Scholarship Project for Afghan students in 2009, will help uplift Afghan students’ professional abilities in the fields of medicines, engineering, agricultural, computer science and business studies. Allama Iqbal Scholarships beginning its 3rd scholarship for the years 2022-2031 and government of Pakistan is offering 4500 new scholarships to Afghan Youths. Pakistan has provided one third of scholarship for female Afghan students as well to empower women through education.  

In education sector, Pakistan invested in Kabul to build Allama Iqbal Faculty of Arts at Kabul University for Rs. 672.54 million. In Nangarhar, Pakistan constructed Sir Syed Post Graduate Faculty Block for the Rs. 389.65 million while in Kabul Pakistan invested Rs. 120.00 million for the construction of Rehman Baba School. Afghan graduates were imparted with best English language and Computer knowledge by Pakistani teachers. Pakistan provided 300,000 School Kits for 18 provinces there, 6000 Afghans studying in universities and colleges of Pakistan, 500,000 refugee students enrolled in schools of Pakistan and 2000 fully funded scholarships for higher education in Pakistan. 

In the field of healthcare, Pakistan constructed Nishtar Kidney Centre at Jalalabad, Four Hundred Bed Jinnah Hospital at Kabul, Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital at Logar. Pakistan also delivered 45 Ambulances for 12 Provinces, 14 Fully Equipped Mobile Medical Units, and Medicines for Kabul, Jalalabad and Kandahar.     

In the communication sector, Pakistan constructed 75 KM Torkham-Jalalabad Road, Additional Carriage Wayat Torkham-Jalalabad Road, 3 Internal Roads in Jalalabad, Rail Link to connect Chaman and Kandahar, Traffic Signals in Jalalabad city. Pakistan provided road construction machinery including 30 Mobile Hot Mixers, 200 Trucks, 100 Public Transport Buses, 2 Pickups, 4 Generators and Medicines for Wardak Province.

In the field of General Assistance, Pakistan provided Television Transmitters for Kandahar, Digital Radio Link between Kabul and Peshawar, 28 Generators to Various Provinces, Security Equipment, Computers for Different Provinces, and Installed 15 deep well Hand Pumps in villages of Kabul. Pakistan supplied 50,000 Food Packages during the Month of Ramadan, 50,000 Metric Ton of Wheat, 9600 Tents for IDPs. 

The world is reluctant to engage with Taliban and recognize their government, however, Pakistan tries its best to pursue the world for an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Afghan assets were frozen and all sources of foreign aid were suspended, it was Pakistan which supported Afghanistan immediately. The war has totally damaged Afghanistan with no economy, no infrastructure, no industry, no power, and no agriculture. Pakistan being the first neighbor felt the seriousness of the situation in Afghanistan and came forward to extend its helping hand with immediate humanitarian assistance. Speedy humanitarian help provided quickly relief to many Afghans. 

But, what was required much and needed for sustainable development, was the Human Resources. Pakistani leadership played its vital role to promote much-needed Human Resource development in Afghanistan. In this regard, a strong and stable Pakistan can contribute its role faced by the regional countries especially Afghanistan as in every field Pakistan supported Afghanistan whether it is war or negotiation, because a Peaceful, prosperous and stable Afghanistan remains always in Pakistan’s best interest.  

Imtiaz Ahmad, is an independent writer based in Peshawar, can be reached at [email protected]

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