By Basit Raza Abbasi
The Four Party Joint Statement on Afghanistan Peace issued simultaneously from Washington, Beijing, Moscow and Islamabad after the talks held in Beijing 10-11 July is a historic document with far reaching consequences for Pakistan for many reasons.
First and foremost, it’s a formal international recognition of Pakistan’s principled stance that there’s no military solution to afghan conflict—the only solution is talking to Taliban. True, this was accepted by the US when Zalmay Khalilzad started his round of talks with Taliban in Doha last October. Pakistan did play an instrumental role in it but as only a back stage artist.
What’s now new, and more significant, is Pakistan’s entry by invitation into the elite 3-Party Consultative Forum comprising of Russia, China and USA, that meets regularly to set course for Afghan Peace Talks. That Pakistan is now an equal partner in this elite supervisory group of pace-setters/facilitators for Afghan Peace Process, is a vindication of Pakistan’s stand that road to Kabul passes through Islamabad. In this well-defined and widely recognised role, Pakistan is well poised to play a more effective and salutary part in directing the Afghan Peace Talks to their logical conclusion: a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
The third point is that Pakistan has emerged as an important player on the world stage, literally receiving a standing ovation from the three world powers as recorded in the Joint Statement with this accolade, “China, Russia and the United States welcomed Pakistan joining the consultation and believe that Pakistan can play an important role in facilitating peace in Afghanistan.” While it is music to the years of every Pakistani, it’s a blunt rebuke to Indian attempts to isolate Pakistan from the world in general and South Asia in particular. Kudos to our Foreign Ministry for a very successful diplomacy.
Track II dialogue between Pakistan and India have resumed after a long hiatus. Is it a mere coincidence?
Viewed in the backdrop of forthcoming maiden visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to USA, this development assumes a new dimension. He is a bold person who would be further emboldened by his global recognition as a peace seeker and a peace promoter. Pakistan-US relation are just emerging from cold storage, if not the dustbin of history. Here’s the opportunity to transform this transactional and transitory love-hate relationship into a principled and enduring one in which national prestige is non-negotiable.
It is our firm belief that Pakistan’s entry in the Four Party Forum augurs well for the Afghan Peace Process. Not only has Pakistan’s principled stance on Afghanistan received worldwide recognition, it is now offered a key role in orchestrating a just and lasting solution to Afghan conflict. This is a historic opportunity which will bring decades of bloodshed, forced migrations, persistent strife and incessant turmoil to an end. A new era of peace, prosperity, harmony and stability is dawning in Afghanistan. The long awaited peace is now on the western horizon.
Writer Basit Raza Abbasi is a retired PAF Officer with a keen eye on geopolitical and strategic developments. He is a senior analyst for TV programs on international relations and current affairs. His deep understanding of regional developments especially political changes and international realignments make his analysis of the emerging situation very meaningful. He then applies his experiences to the new situations to chart a course of action for Pakistan which is pragmatic and offers an out of box solution to the most difficult and unpredictable situations. Other fields of interest are CPEC, Energy and Oil and Gas sector.